LAKELAND, Fla. (FOX 13) – An army of buses is ready to roll as thousands of kids head back to school and some Polk County buses will have something new – tracking devices. One of those devices is the brainchild of a teenager.
Niriham Shah is a high school sophomore who had an idea.
“When I was in middle school, I had to ride a bus that was an hour ride and every day it would be late and my parents wouldn’t know. I didn’t have a phone so I couldn’t contact them and say ‘we’re going to be 30 minutes late,'” Niriham explained.
So he created Bus Wiz, a smartphone app designed to ease parents’ fears.
“They won’t have to worry about where their bus is, or if their child is in a bus crash or something,” Niriham said.
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A GPS device installed on each bus sends information to satellites, which beam the information to a database.
Parents download the free app and pay a $25 subscription fee to see, in real-time, where their child’s bus is, including pick-up and drop-off times.
We first told you about Niriham’s idea two years ago, when the then 13-year-old won a Lakeland Chamber of Commerce contest for young entrepreneurs.
The chamber helped him develop his idea and the project became a family affair, with his computer-savvy parents pushing the project forward.
“We kind of helped him on the technology side of it because that is our strength,” Niriham’s father, Malay explained.
Now that Niriham’s app is ready for launch, he’s not looking to cash in for himself. He says he’ll donate any potential earnings back to the school district. This is personal for him.
“I want to give the parents the ease, the calm state of mind because I know a lot of parents stress about whether the bus is like, stuck at a railroad track or because of bad weather because that happens very often,” Niriham said.
The technology is now one of two apps in the testing stage, according to the Polk County School District. One day it could make the trip to and from school less anxious for parents and children.