Loudoun Co. schools seek to reduce nearby traffic, despite bus-tracking app glitch

When Loudoun County Public Schools open this Thursday, the district hopes to reduce car traffic around schools.

One of the ways they aim to achieve that is by getting more kids to ride the bus, but troubles with a new bus-tracking app may prompt parents to drive their children to class, at least for now.

A safety campaign called Congestion Must Go, listed on the LCPS first-day-of-school webpage, “seeks to reduce the amount of traffic around our schools by encouraging bus ridership, walking or biking to school, carpooling and efficient kiss-and-go operations.”

The LCPS Support Services Division says of the safety campaign, “We want to make certain that we take action to control the congestion that can be created from the high traffic volume on school campuses.”

The program encourages parents to practice walking to school with their child and provides bike safety tips.

For kiss-and-ride families, the program suggests practicing unbuckling and buckling, as well as opening the door with the student who is being dropped off or picked up at school.

The school system also switched to a new app for tracking the location of a child’s school bus, which would make it easier to take — but the rollout isn’t going smoothly.

LCPS is using a new app called Stopfinder, which replaces the Here Comes the Bus service, to set up GeoAlert notifications tracking a student’s bus location.

As WTOP reported, Stopfinder is invitation-based, and the school system said invitations would be sent to all parents and guardians Aug. 19, with information on how to subscribe for the service.

However, the day before the beginning of the school year, many parents haven’t been able to subscribe to the service.

“We are aware there is an issue with some parents/guardians not receiving their invitations to Stopfinder, the app that allows parents to see when a bus is arriving at a bus stop. We are working hard to resend invitations. Thank you for your patience while we work through these issues,” according to a Tuesday email to parents from the school system.

WTOP is seeking comment from LCPS on whether all parents will receive an emailed link to subscribe to the service before the start of school.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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