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Mom develops app to monitor school transport

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South Africa’s new kid on the block app, LocTransie, promises to help monitor children as they are transported to and from school, says its developer Tshidi Morabi.

Once the parent, school transport driver and school have signed up for the Android app, the driver can record when the child was dropped off and the school administrator will sign in on the app to show the child is in school. The parent will then get a notification of the activity. 

Morabi says the parent, school administrator and transport providers will have to download the app to create a profile. “The parents will add a child’s name and link the child to their school and scholar transport company. This will populate a list for the driver to know which child is in his care.”

The app uses the e-mail addresses of the parents, driver and school administrator rather than their names.

Launched this month, the app was developed by the 44-year-old mother of two after she panicked when the driver who was transporting her child from school failed to answer his phone.

The app’s name is derived from “Loc” for “locate” and “Transie” for “transport” in township slang. 

The app is available in the Google Play Store and Morabi expects to release the iOS version by the end of 2019.

Morabi also provides a gadget that is given to the child to communicate with a parent when there is an emergency. “The drivers do not know about the gadget; only the parent should know where the gadget is kept on the child. This is how we track the movement of the transport they take to school.”

Morabi notes the gadget comes in handy as the parent can still monitor the child’s journey even if the driver has forgotten their phone or tablet at home, or they don’t have data. At any time during the travel to school, the parent can login to view the progress of the trip.

“The gadget doesn’t need data or airtime. It is powered by a SIM card. The child can send an SOS to the parent in case of an emergency, and the parent can make a decision whether to call the police or not.

“The gadget was designed in such a way that primary school children can be able to press it during an emergency.”

Morabi says when she presented the app to schools, a network of independent low-cost private schools around Gauteng asked to be involved in designing some features of the app.

“That is when we decided to have a register as a feature in the app. The register helps us compile daily reports which the schools can access to monitor late-coming or absenteeism.”

The schools have an option to get the reports daily, weekly or monthly.

Morabi publicised her app by advertising it through flyers which she placed at schools and at the robots of busy intersections. She also contacted scholar transport owners directly through phone calls and e-mail.

“We have signed up 40 scholar transport companies, 80 parents and seven schools in different provinces, which include Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.”

While Morabi was involved in the brief and checking the code when designing the app, she hired a South African developer, investing R250 000.

“The real benefit of the app is adding a trust factor to the scholar transport sector.”

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