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Beginning this fall, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District parents whose children ride the bus to and from school each day will be able to track the location of their child’s bus using a smartphone application.

The District 196 Transportation Department is piloting the “Here Comes The Bus” app during several programs this summer and plans to make the service available to families districtwide prior to the first day of the school year Sept. 3.

Transportation Coordinator Karen Dayon said the app will let parents and students know when the bus is getting close to their stop so they don’t have to wait outside very long before their bus arrives. “This will be especially helpful on those cold winter mornings,” Dayon said. “And in the afternoon, parents will know when the bus arrives at the stop and drops their child off.”

With Here Comes The Bus, parents are able to set up a perimeter around their child’s bus stop. When their child’s bus enters that perimeter, the app sends an alert. Here Comes The Bus also sends notification messages if a bus is running late or if a different bus has been substituted for a child’s usual bus.

The app uses HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which encrypts all communication between the web browser and the app for security. The app tracks district buses using GPS; it does not track students.

The Transportation Department will be communicating with parents of students involved in the pilot program this summer. The Here Comes The Bus app is available to download free on the Google Play Store and the App Store. To set up an account, parents will need a school identification number and their child’s lunch account number. Parents will be able to monitor buses for multiple children from a single account. Schools will share setup instructions and school identification numbers with parents before the first day of school this fall.

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