Smiling female bus driver

Mesa Public Schools will be conducting a pilot of SMART tag, a bus security system, at three schools this spring. Aimed at enhancing safety, security and efficiency for students and parents, SMART tag will be piloted at Guerrero Elementary, Smith Junior High and Westwood High School beginning on April 15. The new system will be expanded district-wide in the 2024-25 school year.

The SMART tag system helps increase safety and security for students riding on a school bus, leveraging technology to improve student management and communications on school buses.

SMART tag monitors the location of each tablet-equipped school bus, including student loading and unloading, providing real-time information to the Transportation Department.

Students will always be picked up at their designated stops, regardless of circumstances. 

SMART tag will help...

  • Increase driver, school, and parent awareness 

  • Ensure riders will load on the right bus and unload at the right stop

  • Maximize rider safety and security

  • Enable drivers to efficiently and effectively carry out their duties

  • Ensure Special Education students are released to authorized guardians

How will my student receive their SMART tag ID?

Students will receive their Smart Tag IDs at school. 

What does my student need to do to get on the bus?

Students will scan their Smart Tag IDs on a tablet when getting on the bus. 

What happens if my student forgets or loses their ID?

Students will always be picked up at their designated stops, regardless of circumstances. They can receive a new SMART tag ID from school. There will not be a fee for replacement cards during the pilot but will be once it is rolled out to the entire district.

How does it work?

Students are issued passive, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) cards which do not store student information nor emit any tracking information. RFID technology is used in many industries such as medical (patient, equipment & supplies tracking), libraries (book tracking), and even amusement park access. These IDs are read when students get on or off the bus by an RFID reader. 

SMART tagTM school buses are equipped with a tablet computer and RFID reader. When riders get on or off, they present their ID onto the reader and the tablet displays if the rider is boarding the correct bus or are getting off at their correct stop. The tablet uses its GPS information to report its location and speed, ridership activity and other safety-related information.

While buses are in service, their location and ridership info are available for the transportation administrators, so they can oversee all school bus activity.

Am I able to get notifications of when my student gets on and off the bus?

A parent portal will be available in the fall when this system is deployed at all schools across the district.