Durham Student Transportation Services (DSTS) is excited to announce the implementation of new technology, mTransport on our large 70 passenger vehicles.
After a successful pilot prior to the summer break DSTS is happy to announce mTransport will begin to be implemented on all of our 70 passenger vehicles starting in Whitby this October. Implementation will be staggered over the next few months. Your student will be issued their QR card through the school with additional instructions on when full implementation will be taking place.
What is mTransport?
mTransport is a system designed to streamline communications between our buses and stakeholders, namely the school and our parent guardian community. This system will replace the traditional paper-based manifest on board with a Tablet that will have an electronic version of your students’ bus route. Students will be issued a card with a QR code that the tablet software can read to register when and where they board a bus as well as when they disembark. This will help our drivers better recognize riders and allow them to assist if someone attempts to board at the wrong stop or the wrong bus or get off a bus when they shouldn’t. This system will also ensure we have live and relevant data regarding bus passengers, which is critical information in the event of a bus incident or accident.
What data is available with mTransport?
Information in mTransport is no different than what our Bus Operators and schools already have with traditional paper manifests. Student names along with the bus stop location are the main pieces of information held on the tablet. Personal information such as phone numbers, date of birth or home addresses are not stored on the tablet. Data is transferred via a secure connection and all data is held within Canadian servers. Only verified staff who already have access to the Bus route information such as school administration staff, transportation route planners, Bus Operators, and information technology staff from DSTS and mTransport who facilitate the software, will have access to these new electronic manifests on the Tablet.
Can any personal information be scanned from the QR Code?
No, the QR code is simply linked to an ID number that is linked to the student within the mTransport software. No personal information can be obtained from the QR code if scanned by any other source.
What other information is found on the Tablet?
Outside of the Stops and students using those stops these electronic manifests also will have driving directions for our drivers to get from stop to stop. This is very helpful for new drivers or drivers who may be filling in for another route.
What type of notifications can I get as a parent?
mTransport also has a Student/Guardian application that will become available to register and log into once our project is in full deployment(DSTS anticipates that full deployment will be complete by Spring of 2024). Users of the application will be able to opt into messages via, Text, email or push notification about when the student boarded the bus and disembarked it, as well as notification when the bus has left the stop previous to your students and is on the way. Notifications will also indicate if the student used their QR code to board the vehicle or if they were manually logged in by the driver. App users will also be able to mark their student absent for the day letting the driver know they will not be riding. Finally, notifications are also sent if an issue has occurred with the system, and it is not being used that day or at some point along the route.
What happens if a student forgets the card?
Students can still board normally if they do not have the card with them. Drivers can tap the students' name on the manifest to mark them as having boarded the bus. We just ask that if your student does not have their card they wait to board last at the stop to make it easier for the driver to find the students' name, and keep boarding timely.
I lost my card, what should I do?
If you lose your card, contact DSTS by sending an email to email@example.com. Don't forget to include the student's full name, grade and school. A new card will be produced and sent to the school for distribution to the student.
How long should I keep my card?
Since the QR code on the card is linked to an ID number they can be kept for the entirety of your students career at their school. No need to get a new one each school start up.
Can I board a different bus with my Card?
It is important to use the transportation assigned to you. Students trying to board a different bus where they are not registered, the mTransport System will signal the driver. This will help avoid situations where students attempt to board the wrong bus by accident and need to be returned to the school at the end of the run. Further information on DSTS transportation policy can be found here.