KXAN Austin

Williamson County dad creates bus safety app

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — School districts across central Texas have been working on ways to keep students safe and accounted for while on the bus.

The Round Rock Independent School District just rolled out their full fleet of Smart Tags.​  Austin ISD uses the Where’s the Bus App.​  Meanwhile, a central Texas dad believes he has the next tool districts can use. ​

“They said it was just delayed, making sure other kids get dropped off on time, which is understandable,” said Daniel Griggs, CEO at ATX the brand. “As a parent, I’m kind of freaking out.”

Not now where his son was, is the reason Daniel Griggs created ‘Bus Kids Safe.’

“When the bus driver leaves the transportation department, they’ll click begin route,” said Griggs. “It has every location they need to stop at, it sends a notification to the transportation department software, as well as the parents, letting them know the the bus has began its route.”

Bus drivers update the app when a student gets on or off the bus.

​Parents’ peace of mind comes solely from the bus driver remembering to track his route. KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout asked Griggs if there’s a possibility for human error.

“Once they click begin route, its automatically checking it,” said Griggs. “If there is any sort of human error. The bus driver didn’t click it, or didn’t go through and pick all of the pickups or drop-offs, then they’re held accountable by the transportation department and the parents. Any mistake they make, someone else will automatically know about it.”

​​Round Rock ISD equipped their nearly 300 buses with the Smart Tag system.  It tracks individual students on the bus. Each student gets a card with a chip. They scan the card when they get on — and off the bus.

Griggs says that can be a problem.

“My wife and I have four children. He leaves his jacket at school, he leaves his backpack at school. How do I know he’s going to keep up with a tag?” said Griggs

Round Rock ISD spent $350,000 on Smart Tags.​ Griggs’ App is currently free in Texas Schools, but once the bus kids safe system rolls out the cost could range anywhere from $30 to $80 per bus. <

It’s a relative cost depending on the number of buses in each district’s fleet. Griggs says its been heavily tested, and he’s ready to roll it out.

Griggs also says a couple districts within Williamson county have already expressed interest in the app. ​For every 10 paying districts, ‘Bus Kids Safe’ plans to give the program out for free to a school that cannot afford it. ​