NEW YORK – Schools Chancellor David C. Banks today announced the next phase of the NYC Student Transportation Modernization Plan, with the official launch of the Via platform in Community School District 26 earlier this fall.
The Via platform will allow families and schools to receive real-time updates and tracking information of students as they travel to and from school on public school buses. Access to the Via platform will provide increased transparency and visibility for families and schools, while expanding lines of communication between schools, bus companies, and families.
“As a parent and Chancellor, I know that at the forefront of every parent’s mind is the safety and wellbeing of their children. That is why I am thrilled to be rolling out this program, which will provide peace of mind to families and open communications pathways between students, schools, and bus companies,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “As the largest student transportation system in the country, we are constantly looking to improve service, and I am grateful to our partners at Via, our hard-working bus drivers and the dedicated staff within the Department of Education who are making this possible for our young people and their families.”
The Department of Education, in partnership with and thanks to the advocacy of City Council, first introduced the NYC Student Transportation Modernization Plan in 2019. The project was initially paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic but recommenced in the 2020-21 school year with small-scale testing of the system to ensure that each component was successful before this most recent expansion. At its conclusion, this effort will provide transparency to families and schools, and at 472,000 users, will have one of the largest technology footprints in the DOE.
In close partnership with District 26 leadership, the Department of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) held multiple information sessions for schools, families and bus drivers leading up to the program’s official launch. As part of this rollout, OPT will be working closely with users to collect feedback and immediately identify and resolve any issues as they arise.
Additional details on the plan and the Via platform are available on our website, which will be updated regularly, including with details on a forthcoming citywide launch date.
“This is a step in the right direction. Busing has affected so many of our students and families. It is important that we continue to be proactive and solution oriented as a city, to ensure that the busing experience becomes better for all New York City Children,” said Council Member Rita Joseph, Chair of the NYC Council Committee on Education.
“As the parent of a young school-age child, I understand how it important it is know your child is getting to and from school safely,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “The recent expansion of the Via platform to Community School District 26 gives thousands of Queens parents much-needed peace of mind by assuring them their children are being transported safely on our City’s school bus network. I strongly commend Chancellor Banks and his entire team at the Department of Education for their commitment to expanding the Via platform and to implementing the entire NYC Student Transportation Modernization Plan.”
NY State Senator John C. Liu, Chair of the Senate Committee on NYC Education, stated, "Each school day brings hundreds of buses to our city streets and parents have the right to know the precise location, pick up and drop off times of their children. The Via platform will greatly improve the entirety of our student transportation system by streamlining communications between our schools, bus companies and families with near real-time data. Many thanks to Chancellor Banks and the NYC DOE for bringing this important system right here to Queens School District 26."
“I applaud Mayor Adams and administration’s efforts to provide families in School Community District 26 with real-time updates as their children commute to and from school on our public school buses,” said Council Member Lee, co-Chair of the Queens Delegation. “Eastern Queens is a transit desert that lacks access to reliable public transportation, and like any parent, the safety and wellbeing of our children is a priority in my mind. The Via platform will put the worries of our parents at ease and provide an extra measure of communication, security, and transparency for our families as we continue to create ways to improve student transportation service across the city.”
“As a father, I know how important it is to know that your child is safe,” said Council Member James F. Gennaro. “This new bus tracking system will offer parents much-needed peace of mind and valuable real-time updates about their children. The rollout of this platform is welcome news to all parents in Community School District 26. I’d like to thank Chancellor David Banks, the Dept. of Education, and all the community partners who have made this possible.”
“I am happy to witness the launch of the next phase of the NYC Student Transportation Modernization Plan – the Via platform in CEC 26. As someone who runs my office on prioritizing the values of transparency and communication, I could not be more supportive of a program that would facilitate better and stronger communication between parents, schools, and bus companies. This program comes at a time during which parental concern for safety and well-being has dramatically increased, and we must always be working on cultivating unique and creative solutions to these very real problems. I would like to thank Chancellor Banks for his work on this initiative,” said Council Member Vickie Paladino.
“Nothing is more important that safeguarding the well-being of our youngest students, and we have to use every tool at our disposal to ensure their safety,” said Council Member Sandra Ung. “The Via platform will give parents another assurance that their children are in good hands from the moment they send them off in the morning until they welcome them home at night. Thank you to the Department of Education for choosing the schools in northeast Queens to be the first to have access to this important new technology.”
“I am so excited to see this program launching in my district, so that our families never have to wonder where their student’s school bus is again,” said Community School District 26 Superintendent Danielle Giunta. “This platform will allow parents to track where their child's bus is when they are on their way to and from school – letting them know when to head out in the morning when it is cold and rainy and when their child's bus may be running late due to traffic. I’m thankful to all District 26 community members for coming together to make this a reality.”