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District may track buses, students with GPS

Lee County’s school buses are about to go high-tech by installing technology usually only seen in luxury cars. The district plans to install Global Positioning System devices on about 700 school buses at a cost of $1.2 million. GPS will allow the district to keep a close eye on buses and the students who ride them. During the thirty day trial, three companies will install their GPS on nine school buses. The test will allow the district to see which system works best and is cheapest. Three companies are bidding for the job: Everyday Wireless, Synovia and Geospatial Technologies.

Each bus would be outfitted with a GPS device and a GPS antenna will be installed on top of transportation headquarters. GPS works through radio waves and will allow the district to track buses within a 20 mile radius. The district is also considering a fingerprint identification system.

“The purpose is to verify getting on at the right stop, getting off at the right stop so transportation doesn’t get a call, we don’t know where our child is,” said Joe Winkler, of Everyday Wireless.

School district officials say there are two major reasons for the project- to make bus routes more time and cost efficient and to make sure each child arrives safely. A decision on which system the district chooses should be made by March. The project would cost the district just under $1,800 per bus.