Bellevue Public Schools’ parents and guardians can now access their children’s bus route in the palm of their hands.
E-Link is a new program parents can use with their students’ school I.D. number to check the bus stop routing information in the morning and afternoon.
Eileen Jensen, special education coordinator for BPS, introduced the program after attending different SPED conferences and getting ideas on how to make bus tracking easier for parents, students and school staff.
“They’ll be able to access it from wherever they are. They also won’t have to contact the school or have the school contact them,” she said. “With everybody having phones nowadays and internet access, it’ll be pretty easy for them.”
BPS has 84 buses — split between general education and special needs fleets — and more than 3,000 students riding the bus every day.
To access the program, users will log in to bus.bellevuepublicschools.org using the student’s I.D. number for the username and the student’s birth date for the password. Those with multiple children riding buses need to set up accounts for each child.
Once in the program, parents will have access to the pick-up location and pick-up time, bus number and the destination for the morning and after school routes.
One thing Jensen said the app won’t have is tracking real-time bus routes — only scheduled time.
“If the bus is running late, it’s not going to tell when the bus is going to be there,” she said.
This is, however, something the district and transportation would like to include in the future.
“That’s obviously important in the winter time when the roads are really bad and buses are delayed because of traffic and accidents, maintenance issues,” said Richard Casey, director of transportation.
Jensen said she hopes all parents and guardians with children on buses use the app.
“Throughout the year, we would like them to check the information and even before school starts here, we want them to constantly check it, because times will change,” she said. “We always seem to be re-routing, especially in the first month of school.”
Casey said the app will be especially useful during the first few weeks of school and during the snowy and icy winters.
“This time of year is tough just with [parents] trying to call schools, trying to call us because it’s such a busy time,” he said. “For a parent to go on and not make a phone call, it’s easier for them, it’s easier for us and the information is just so accurate.”