How it started?
Published on 08/10/18
In November 2017, I heard about a bus tracker device for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, a public transportation option in our area, and I wondered why our school buses did not have a similar application.
Waiting in rain, snow, and freezing temperatures, no one knew whether the bus had already passed their stop or whether it was running late. Similar to many high schoolers, my brother and I did not have alternative rides to school so we had to be outside earlier to make sure we didn't miss the bus.
Starting the school day off as human icicles was not optimal for our learning or for our health. Thus, we found a need among students, not just in Lexington, but all over America. Students wanted to know where their bus was so they could save time and energy. John and I had stumbled upon an ubiquitous problem.
To research our problem, we looked up similar apps or websites with the functionality to track buses. In particular, we saw that Boston Public Schools had seen success with a web app called “Where’s My School Bus.” The city worked with a local software company so we interviewed a member of the company that helped us understand the centralized system of using GPS systems on each bus. We saw that a native app, iOS or Android, could offer additional benefits like notifications and accessibility to students.
For more market research, we met with the Transportation Coordinator for Lexington, Elaine Celi, who was kind enough to allow us to look at how she creates the routes as well as provide us with some outside feedback on our idea. We saw that even within our own town, bus routes were complex and always evolving.
Thus, we gave more autonomy to users with the edit and record functions of the app. Since users make their own changes on the bus route, Ride on Time Tech LLC bypasses the problem of having to constantly update the routes which could be time consuming and expensive.
Through many discussions, we tweaked and refined our idea. John and I realized that like Waze, an app that uses a peer to peer system to report traffic and delays, we could use the peer to peer approach to reach more students. Our big dream? To eventually deliver our services to over 50 million kids in schools all over the United States. As a peer to peer system, Ride on Time Tech LLC is scalable because the focus is on the user who has the power to communicate with other students on their bus.