Ever vigilant of safety concerns regarding students, the Great Neck Public School Board of Education is set to add GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) technology to all school district school bus vans. At the school board’s last public action meeting at the end of April, the board authorized President Barbara Berkowitz to sign up for the GPS. The agreement is for the installation of Zonar Systems GPS units in the school district owned fleet of school bus vans, at cost of $10,007.10 for the first year. This agreement also allows for the option to renew the data services for two additional one-year periods at the rate of $3,672 per year.
In addition, in an interview following the school board meeting, Berkowitz told the Great Neck Record that the school board now also plans to add GPS systems to the larger school buses, leased to the school district from the Veterans Bus Company. She said this issue will be broached to the bus company when the school district’s bus contract is up for renewal next year. “This is a pilot program now, and we consider the GPS very valuable,” Berkowitz added.
Information presented by the school board explains that the GPS technology is available for and utilized in the pupil transportation field. GPS hardware units are able to capture important information and transmit the special software to assist in important operational decisions and to increase overall safety and compliance. In the past, during major storms, it was difficult, if not impossible, to track all of the buses as they traveled emergency early dismissal routes. GPS systems would put an end to late-night worries while tracking those buses.
With the new Zonar Systems technology, the ground traffic control fleet management GPS system will interface with the school district bus routing software, with the ability to view actual situations. The GPS system can also monitor school bus driver performance, allows greater transportation scheduling efficiency, insures that the buses comply with anti-idling policies and provides the ability to quickly locate a bus during and emergency situation.