On Dec. 12, the Riverhead Board of Education unanimously approved Transfinder, a new software program that will provide the school district with real-time data on the school buses that are running, information on who is planning the routes and GPS tracking capability.
The three-year agreement with Transfinder will cost the district $203,585, according to the contract. TransPar, the student transportation and consulting management company hired by the school district, introduced its proposal to use this technology at an October school board meeting.
TransPar recommended implementing Transfinder to improve longstanding transportation issues across all district schools, including bus delays, wait times, inefficient pickup and drop-off procedures and more.
The school district will pay $60,223 annually for the next three years and the contract includes several software modules, such as school bus routing software called Routefinder PLUS, which offers a geographical map conversion for Suffolk County.
According to its website, Routefinder PLUS allows the district to manage attendance boundaries, so users can assess school zone changes and any impact this may have on students, grades and school bus routes.
Other components of Transfinder include Viewfinder, which enables district staff to monitor the day-to-day transportation department operations through a computer or mobile device. Some of its key features are vehicle tracking, real-time chat and scheduled reports of daily, weekly or monthly information.
Another component, Tripfinder, allows district personnel to manage field trip requests, approvals and resource allocations.
There is also Stopfinder, a digital guide parents can use to find out their child’s bus schedule and follow the bus while it’s enroute. Through the Stopfinder mobile app, parents can opt in to receive push notifications on real-time updates, such as bus number or driver changes. Parents and guardians will be able to use Stopfinder once the district sets up the system and sends out an invitation, according to the Stopfinder website.
The contract states that Transfinder will provide the district with system training t through weekly online sessions with a dedicated trainer, and will grant access to the Transfinder Community client resources portal for documentation, training videos, webinars and a report library.
According to the initial presentation in the fall, Transfinder is the nation’s largest provider of student transportation software, with over 35 years’ experience serving grades kindergarten through 12.
At the October meeting, Transfinder representative Dave Sollecito explained the software’s function and how it creates an all-in-one solution to district access, operational awareness and parent insight to school busing. Transfinder serves over 300 school districts in New York State, he said.
The Riverhead Central School District joins two other Long Island school districts — Jericho and Syosset — in using Transfinder.