In its endeavor to make school buses safer for its 750 students and optimally use its Rs 5 crore fleet, Indus International School turned to a unique solution.
Ten children injured in a school bus accident. School bus driver crushes a child. School bus topples, 15 kids injured.
These headlines painted Bangalore newspapers red in early 2012. And they gave sleepless nights to worried parents. Until one school decided to change that.Based in Bangalore, the Indus International School was established in 2003. The brainchild of the Indus trust, the school has branches in Hyderabad and Pune.
The Business Case:
The school’s transportation fleet, consisting of around 24 buses—ranging from 34-60 seaters—is used by around 750 of the school's students. "We wanted to control the speed at which our buses were moving and thereby guarantee the safety of our students," says Major Kunal Kuttappa, director-administration, Indus International School, who pioneered the project. Also, since the school had spent around Rs 5 crore on transportation, it had to utilize this asset optimally.
To be able to do that, Kuttappa decided to implement a GPS tracker and monitoring solution.
With help from a solution partner, the company set up a GPS tracker and an antenna, both of which are enclosed within a box and placed in buses. This apparatus is connected to the main monitoring device which is placed below the dashboard of the bus. Through an online portal, the school can see whether there are any instances of over-speeding—the school's accepted speed limit is 45 km/hr—route and bus stop deviations, or device tampering. The device also sends alerts—in the form of e-mails and SMSes—to the school in case of over-speeding, etcetera.
It also sends SMSes to parents informing them about pick-up and drop points. To facilitate that, prior to the beginning of each academic year, the school sends all the relevant data—such as route, bus, driver, students' names, drop-points, and contact numbers of guardians—to the solution provider. This information is input into the solution partner’s system.
Indus International School pays Rs 70 per child per month to the solution provider and an initial one-time registration fee of Rs 100 for every new student.
But for the success of the project, Kuttappa had to solve one problem: SMS latency. At that time, TRAI regulations limited the number of SMSes that could be sent in a day. But by negotiating with TRAI officials, the solution partner fixed the problem.
Now, Kuttappa is able to monitor if there are any rule violations—such as rash driving—and take corrective action. By making drivers more accountable, the school has ensured the safety of its students.
Also, the school has been able to maximize its transportation fleet usage. It is also planning to implement a SIM card in the GPS tracker with which parents can track the buses by sending an SMS to the SIM. A message with the location of the vehicle will be sent back to them.
With that, the school is doing its bit to make school buses safer.
Eric Ernest is a correspondent for CIO India and ComputerWorld India. Send your feedback to email@example.com.
We wanted to control the speed at which our buses were moving and thereby guarantee the safety of our students