SpotMyBus app

Dear Parents,
A week ago, suddenly, the particular brand and model of tracker in your school district, which had been working reliably for years, began malfunctioning. Not all of them but many of them. The symptom of the malfunction is that they intermittently stop sending location information. We know it is not a connectivity problem because the trackers are sending data every 30 seconds, but the locations are sometimes erroneous (latitude: 0, longitude: 0). The manufacturer of the trackers has no explanation. We do not understand why many of them began malfunctioning at the same time. It took a few days for us to determine that only trackers from a specific manufacturer were malfunctioning. Please understand that the SpotMyBus app and the SpotMyBus servers are functioning correctly. The malfunctioning trackers are causing the problem. We are not shifting the blame. The trackers are part of the SpotMyBus solution and we are responsible for all aspects of SpotMyBus. However, since the app is not malfunctioning, deleting and re-installing the app will not solve the problem. The solution we have undertaken is to replace all trackers from that manufacturer, whether malfunctioning or not, with a new tracker which we now manufacture. We are replacing all trackers at our own expense. There will be no cost to your school district. Unfortunately, for us, over the years we have deployed many trackers from that manufacturer so replacing them is a significant undertaking. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this problem is causing to transportation departments, to parents, and to students. There was no way to anticipate (and thereby avoid) this problem. We have begun the manufacture of the replacement trackers. As this is a custom device, it will take some time to manufacture, configure, test and install the replacements. We are reluctant topredict an exact deployment date for the new trackers, but we are confident the system will be fully restored no later than the return from Christmas break. Again, we are very sorry for the inconvenience you are experiencing.
In the meantime, you must decide whether or not to use the SpotMyBus app during the period affected by the malfunction. You may continue to use the app but you must be aware that there can be gaps of 5 – 15 minutes (or more), during which an affected bus will not correctly send its location. In the upper left corner of the app, there is a timer. Each time the tracker on a bus sends its correct location, your app moves the bus icon on the app’s display (your phone screen) to reflect the current location of the bus. At that point, the timer gets re-set to :00 and updates every second so it always indicates how long ago the bus’s location on the display was sent. With a properly functioning tracker, when the bus moves on the display, the counter gets re-set to :00, the counter ticks off each second and when the counter gets to :30 (seconds), the bus sends a new location, the marker on the display moves, and the counter re-sets back to :00. In this case, you needn’t pay close attention to the timer, because the marker is never more than :30 seconds out of date. However, in the case of a malfunctioning tracker, where only some of the locations are being correctly sent, you must pay close attention to that timer. Each time you look at the marker, you should also look at the timer because it is possible the marker is 5, 10 or more minutes old. If you don’t look at the marker, and simply assume it is current, you might miss your bus. So, this problem just arose within the past week, we have identified the nature of the problem and we have created a plan and are executing a solution. It will take some time to complete the solution and again, we apologize for the inconvenience. There was no way to predict and avoid this problem.


Sincerely,
SpotMyBus
dbrenner@spotmybus.com l 516-829-4110

Written by 

Chief Operations/ Information Officer