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Boston’s new school-bus tracking system catching on

The Boston public schools’ new website, “Where’s My School Bus,” appears to be connecting with parents and students.

The bus-tracking system, which can be viewed on smartphones and computers, had 601 visitors on the first day of school on Wednesday and 1,263 visitors on Thursday, city officials said.

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The number of visitors increased even as more buses arrived to school on time Thursday. Some 83 percent of buses arrived before the bell on Thursday, up from 60 percent on Wednesday. (Rates for both days are somewhat comparable to the previous year.)

City officials chalk up the uptick in website users to word of mouth among parents who are using the system.

“In general what we are hearing is good satisfaction, but there are some performance issues we are working through to make sure people are getting the information as fast as they can,” said Chris Osgood, cochairman of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.

The primary issue, he said, revolves around how quickly the website can retrieve GPS data from a separate system, which is tracking the buses.

Osgood said the delays are typically occurring in seconds or in extreme cases minutes.

To use the bus-tracking program, go to schoolbus.bostonpublicschools.org, and enter the child’s last name, date of birth, and student ID number. The site will indicate the bus’s position on a Google map as well as where it has been for the last two minutes.

The website, however, does not project what time the bus will arrive at the child’s stop.

The bus tracking program was developed by Code for America in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and later refined by Vermonster.

James Vaznis can be reached at jvaznis@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globevaznis.
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