Silke Communications is now offering a new service for its pupil transportation customers. BusNet™ is a coordinated digital network function that allows drivers to request or offer support to their peers when operating outside district boundaries.
BusNet™ is a free add-on service for current and new Silke customers who use the FleetNet™ digital radio network.
To help us build the largest inter-district network as quickly as possible, OPTA, WAPT and CASTO members receive priority programming.
How does it work?
BusNet utilizes Silke Communications’ FleetNet™ Digital network. Participating districts “host” the network in their territory using a dedicated radio that is managed by dispatch.
Why would a driver use BusNet?
If a bus is stranded because of mechanical issues or a special circumstance, and it is out of its home area, BusNet-enabled drivers can make a request for support using an assigned channel on their existing digital radio.
Who can access BusNet?
Some districts will elect to allow driver-to-driver contact, and some will prefer driver-to-dispatch contact.
How might BusNet be helpful in a regional emergency?
During a regional emergency in which district resources might be used across district boundaries, BusNet could offer the base system to allow for interoperability not just between the districts, but even with other agencies, such as 911 centers. Extending the network to public safety could be done on a district-by-district level. This could be an extremely effective one-to-many communications support in a case that involves damage to critical infrastructure or impact to emergency services (routing to shelters, medical care, etc.)
How would BusNet be useful if there was a communications interruption that happened outside the network?
“Outside-the-network” interruptions are those related to a larger, non-Silke failure. In the unlikely case that happened, BusNet would still allow for radio-to-radio, or “talk-around” functionality.
Why not just use a cell phone?
Beyond the issues of coverage, and the safety issues of using a cell phone, a cell phone requires that the driver knows who to call. It’s also a one-to-one mode of contact, and BusNet allows for a general “bulletin” type call if the host district allows that function.
What sort of equipment is required?
BusNet requires that a district is using the Silke FleetNet digital two-way radios and a digital network. That is overwhelmingly the case now.
BusNet also requires a dedicated radio and power supply. The cost of this is typically approximately $700. Silke will offer a package for $250, through 2017.
WASHINGTON • OREGON • CALIFORNIA • IDAHO • NEVADA