By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new app is trying to make school bus pick-up and drop-off easier, by letting families track the bus as they would an Uber or Lyft ride.

Twenty-four Minnesota schools use the Here Comes the Bus app, and that number is set to double to 50 schools in the 2020-21 school year.

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An Apple Valley family showed WCCO how the app works.

First, parents in partner schools get a login code that works for their bus and their bus only. They can then set a distance radius to get alerts and track the bus in real time.

When the bus arrived at Travis Moy’s sons’ bus stop, an icon resembling their house turned green. Exact tracking then goes away until the bus gets to school, which also turns green to resemble arrival.

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Moy says the app is helpful for two reasons: On colder days, neither he nor his boys have to wait outside. And, in general, it takes the guess work out of the morning.

“They know that we can look and show them the bus is three stops away, or three blocks away,” Moy said. “It gets rid of the anxiety of the kids packing their bags and getting ready.”

The process is similar for the trip home.

“In the afternoon, the bus always seems like it’s a little delayed,” Moy said. “That means I know when I can come home to make sure I’m here for the kids. So if I’m out shopping, I know how much time I have.”

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District 196 told WCCO it pays about $2 per bus for the app. That equals roughly $500 a year.

Christiane Cordero