Horry County School buses get automated message system

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - When your child takes the school bus this year, they may hear a new automated voice with important information he or she should pay attention to.

Ten buses from each area in the Horry County School District are being outfitted with a new audio management system.

"We can alert them that we are now entering a certain subdivision so gather your belongings and remain seated until the bus stops," says Jim Wright, Director of Transportation.

The new system works just like the GPS system in your car. When the bus driver reaches a certain point along the route, it recognizes it, and the message will play. School officials can tailor the message to suit the district's needs.

Wright says the buses that were chosen to be a part of the pilot program had the most disciplinary write-ups, and he believes automated messages will help keep kids on their "p's and q's."

The message can also be played in Spanish and during down time, soft music is played to keep kids calm. Wright says the system also allows the driver to pay attention to the road rather than disciplining children.

The system costs about $1,300 for each unit and the system is the same one used at Disney Parks according to Wright. Wright's son Andrew, actually came up with the idea so Jim got on the phone with the folks from Disney World and now for the first time it will be tried out on school buses here in Horry County.

"It's really cool to see it go from something that just an idea on paper to now the news and other district representatives are taking a look," says Andrew Wright.

The new system will be up and running in time for school this fall.

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