Seven school districts test in-bus tablets for drivers

The tablets are to provide bus drivers an interface for managing data, bus routes and payroll information, replacing legacy paper-based systems.
school bus front
Austin Pacheco / Unsplash

Seven school districts across the United States are testing tablet-enabled school buses as part of a pilot program to improve student transportation, the transport company First Student announced Tuesday.

The company has partnered with software provider Tyler Technologies to equip its school buses with tablets and customized software that can put important route data at bus drivers’ fingertips.

Through this partnership, the companies have built an in-vehicle tablet solution, called Tyler Drive, that can integrate First Student’s back-end systems with the mobile technology, connecting routes, drivers, vehicles, GPS and payroll systems.

“At First Student, our bus drivers drive more miles in a day than most school districts drive in a year,” First Student executive Dean Suhre said in a press release.


To enhance day-to-day operations, Suhre said First Student needed a solution to address the operational, reporting, and data-analytics needs of its clients and bus drivers.

The elimination of paper route sheets is an important improvement with the new tablet system, according to First Student location manager Michelle Taber. “The number one benefit is the audible directions which give drivers the tools they need to provide safer service to our students,” she said in a press release.

The new system also prioritizes transportation safety for students and drivers through a feature called “motion lock,” which prevents the driver from interacting with the tablet while the bus is in motion.

The in-vehicle tablet solution is currently deployed in seven pilot sites across the country, and

First Student said it expects that this technology will be installed in most of its buses in the next two years — 42,000 vehicles serving 1,100 school districts. As part of the roll-out to the initial seven pilot sites, Tyler Technologies and First Student plan to conduct training to get drivers familiar with the technology.


A spokesperson for Tyler Technologies told EdScoop the companies are not yet releasing the names of the test sites.

Betsy Foresman

Written by Betsy Foresman

Betsy Foresman was an education reporter for EdScoop from 2018 through early 2021, where she wrote about the virtues and challenges of innovative technology solutions used in higher education and K-12 spaces. Foresman also covered local government IT for StateScoop, on occasion. Foresman graduated from Texas Christian University in 2018 — go Frogs! — with a BA in journalism and psychology. During her senior year, she worked as an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and moved back to the capital after completing her degree because, like Shrek, she feels most at home in the swamp. Foresman previously worked at Scoop News Group as an editorial fellow.

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