While kids might not care if they get to school on time, parents and the New York City Department of Education do. Fast Company reports that the city’s school bus system is dysfunctional, and the district is hoping for a technology quick fix.
- The New York City school system’s bus network has been unable to manage its 150,000 student riders.
- Last year, the district received 130,000 complaints in the month of September alone.
- To get the system on track, the NYC Department of Education has licensed software from ride-hailing company Via.
Managing a complex logistics problem
This situation is not entirely the Department of Education’s fault. To start with, New York City ranks as the fifth worst in the U.S. for traffic. The district needs to track where kids live, and one in every 10 public school kids lives in temporary housing like a homeless shelter. Managing 9,000 bus routes with the antiquated software the DOE has been using clearly hasn’t worked.
Enter ride-hailing company Via. The company will license its pooling technology to the schools, which works by designing custom routes to pick up multiple passengers. The software will be adapted to optimize bus routes. In a press release from the NYC Department of Education, Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza said, “We’ll have GPS in every bus on the first day of school, and through our partnership with Via, we’ll soon have a state-of-the-art app for families to track buses and get real-time automatic updates.”
WHY THIS MATTERS
The tech industry has already revolutionized taxi cab service. If Via’s system works to streamline New York’s bus system, then students everywhere might be able to look forward to safer and more efficient school transit.