Monday, May 17, 2010

School Buses Text Parents

BMTC buses to turn into hi-tech nannies
By: Madhusudan ManeyDate: 2010-05-13

New device to send SMSes to parents every time kids board or alight from school bus, or the vehicle speeds, accelerates or meets with accident while ferrying children

The BMTC's latest initiative is guaranteed to warm the hearts of young upwardly mobile parents who are short on time. In a first, the civic transport undertaking will install radio frequency devices in its buses leased to schools that will send SMSes to parents every time the child boards or alights the bus.

Alerts will also be sent when the bus is delayed, speeding, involved in an accident, brakes suddenly, accelerates, breaks down and gets caught in a panic-causing situation.

Joint effort
The initiative is the result of collaboration between the BMTC and Mahindra Telematics is expected to be particularly useful for working parents who will be able to monitor the movements of their children better.

"The device will be fitted with GPS/GPRS in the BMTC buses hired by Bishop Cotton Girls School. Other schools have also expressed interest in the device for which we will charge a nominal fee that will cover the cost of SMSes that will be sent every day to the parents," explained H A Balaji, Deputy Manager, Business Development, Mahindra Telematics.

Pilot project
PK Garg, director, projects, BMTC, said, "We are introducing a GPS-based SMS system in association with Mahindra Telematics in our buses that have been leased to a few city schools. Our pilot project starts next month. Eight BMTC buses with Bishop Cotton Girls School will have Radio Frequency devices installed in them.

The SMS alerts will keep parents better informed about the whereabouts of their children."

Parents this reporter spoke to welcomed the BMTC initiative. "When an emergency strikes, we will know where our children are. Once we get an SMS, we will be reassured that the kids are safe. The device will keep the parents tension-free," said Anjali M.