As school starts next week, about 22,000 students will be riding Austin ISD buses each day to and from school. And a new app can help students and families anticipate a bus’s arrival time.
The app, called WheresTheBus, is downloadable from the AISD parent cloud.
Kris Hafezizadeh, director of transportation for AISD, says the app uses GPS technology to locate the bus on its route and can be useful for students and families when traffic, bad weather or other unforeseen problems delay a bus.
In addition, Eric Mendez, chief of the AISD police department, emphasizes school bus safety measures for drivers and bus riders:
- Reduce speed when driving near schools and follow posted signs that require drivers to slow down to 20 miles per hour or less when lights are flashing. Failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or stop when school bus lights are flashing and speeding through school zones when lights are flashing could result in a fine.
- Put down that cell phone and any other electronic device. In addition to the city’s hands-free ordinance banning handheld electronic devices while driving, Texas also prohibits cell phone use in school zones. Drivers are encouraged to put down all distractions and be extra cautious in school zones.
- Always remain in direct eyesight of the bus driver.
- Arrive at the bus stop in plenty of time, at least five minutes prior to the scheduled time.
- Take 10 giant steps back from the curb while waiting for the bus and 10 steps away from the curb when exiting the bus.
- Never try to re-board the bus without the driver’s permission to retrieve an item after exiting.
- Never reach underneath the bus.
- Always follow the driver’s directions for how to cross the street.
- Be alert to traffic and look both ways.
- Always cross in front of the bus, but only when the bus driver signals it is safe.
Walking and biking to school can be a great option, but students are encouraged to wear bright colors when doing so. Bright colors help drivers see students, but go the extra mile and wave to drivers before crossing the road to ensure they see you.