So, now that my older daughter is beginning pre-k and we have gotten a taste of how her new school works and especially the private minibus system chosen to bring her to and from school each day, I am painfully aware of how spoiled I am with the technology I have at my fingertips.
What DO they have? Two phone lines ( I give them credit for having more than one). No voicemail, no message system to let you know if your child's bus is delayed or has forgotten you entirely (like what happened to us a few times this week). They put you on hold forever and you're stuck there waiting to see when your kid will get picked up, held completely hostage to the phone attendant lady.
What DON'T they have? No website, no email, no efficient communication system. It's hard to even find them on Yellowpages.com or Google Local, sometimes I wonder if they even exist.
What's my perfect dream scenario? The bus company sends me an email the night before reminding me that my daughter's bus pickup will be the following morning at 8:45 am. This is good to do, especially in the first week when things are hectic and the route is getting figured out. This probably won't be necessary every day of the schoolyear, maybe just reminders when the bus service isn't running, etc. Then, the morning of the pickup, I would like a text message sent to my phone to alert me if the bus is behind schedule. I would like to know approximate location, which kid is getting picked up, and how many more need to get picked up before they come for mine. I would like to be able to go to a website and see a live map with the bus on it, and each pickup pinned and the order that the bus will go to them (and it would be extra nice to have the pin label show the name of the family, so that I can call that home to introduce myself and my daughter and help start a bus-riders playgroup).
This is really not so much to ask, right? If I wasn't rushing off to get my younger daughter to daycare and then myself to work, I probably wouldn't mind sitting around dealing with all of the uncertainty of it. But, since I am... then I do. Maybe this is a new career calling - Private Transportation Service Technology Consulting (PTSTC).
Ultimately I will probably cancel the bus service and use the good 'ol MTA and the Coney Island bound F train to get my daughter to school, atleast then I will have more control over when we come and go and it will be nice to see her classmates and teachers each morning. Then I won't have to feel so much in the dark ages when working with these bus people, and guilty about demanding so much more of them.