It is important for a Head Start program to have a trusted and safe transportation service for preschool age children. As enrollment changes, the program must also change bus stop locations and routes to ensure efficiency of all routes, and have the appropriate amount of ride time to and from school for our preschool riders. Head Start of Fayette County and Beaver County is committed to continuous improvement of our bus routes through the utilization of technology. Therefore, we outfitted all Head Start buses with GPS units, providing near real-time vehicle and child tracking system provided by a company called Zonar.
The Zonar bus system gives the parents/guardians of an enrolled Head Start classroom child the ability to track where and when their child is when riding the bus, when they have signed up for the ZPass+ mobile app. Parents can use the app to track when and where their child boarded or got off the bus, the location of the bus while child is on the bus and get alerts if the bus is about to arrive to drop their child off. Zonar’s ZPass+ provides parents and our program a new level of assurance. For parents/guardians to participate in this system, they must visit http://www.zpassplus.com to set up an account using their child’s ZPass card number, as provided by Head Start Classroom staff.
In addition to the ZPass+ system, the Head Start program accesses the vehicle and ridership data via a secure web-based site called Ground Traffic Control. This provides management with a clear view of the bus’s path, each stop and start, and even the time, date, and location at which the bus door was opened, idle time at each stop and travel speed.
The new system has been well-received by our Fayette County parents/guardians utilizing the smartphone app option. Because of this success, in the Fall of 2019 our Beaver County Head Start program will be implementing ZPass+ system.
For any additional questions regarding the Zonar bus system, please contact Harry Metz, Transportation Coordinator, at (724) 430-4818 ext. 3103 or Wayne Schneider, PFCE Manager at the same phone number ext. 3310 for Fayette County and Natalie Meade, PFCE Manager at (724) 728-2404 ext. 1230 for Beaver County.