Chesterfield Schools prepare for bus makeover to include GPS, cameras

Posted at 6:22 PM, Apr 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-10 13:46:38-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Chesterfield Schools are gearing up for some major changes to its buses, and taking the initials steps to have GPS and exterior cameras installed on all buses.

The school system has taken the initial step to have GPS installed on all of its buses by the beginning of next school year,  according to Chesterfield Schools spokesman Tim Bullis.

That means parents will soon be able to download an app that will allow them to see where their child's bus is at all times, with the goal of alerting parents if a bus will be late.

"Right now our transportation officials literally plot out hand-by-hand bus routes," Bullis said.

The program, which will cost about $600,000 to implement, is expected to be paid for by the creation of faster routes.

"We are going to cut down on gas by establishing tighter routes," Bullis added.

In addition to a GPS system, Chesterfield is taking the first step in installing exterior cameras on all of its buses, with the goal of being able to fine drivers who blow through bus stop signs.

During a pilot program from December to March, when cameras were placed on five Chesterfield buses, 216 violations were recorded.

Chesterfield school leaders want the county to approve an ordinance allowing them to fine drivers $250 dollars,  believing it will further encourage safety.

During the pilot program the county could not actually fine violators.

Apart from those changes, plans are in place to replace Chesterfield's aging bus fleet, 44 new buses are expected to be bought in the next fiscal year.

The average age for a Chesterfield bus is 17 years old.