TALLAHASSEE FLA. (WTXL) — Star Metro is encouraging parents to participate in their Student Transportation for Academics and Responsibilities, also known as the STAR Program.
Although the program isn't new, the public transportation hub is now expanding its Star program with a star card.
The star card is a photo of the student and once the parent fills out the application, emergency contacts will be available on the card for bus operators to know who to call in case of an emergency.
For Parents like Keshia Jenkins, she said her three kids use the STAR program and its been a big help.
"To me its just as safe as the school bus where my children get on the bus from their school and where it drops off is the same drop off and pick up point for a public school bus, " said Jenkins.
Jenkins said now that Star Metro is enforcing the STAR card, it gives her that extra certainty that her kids will be safe.
"I just feel more confident like okay I know when they give the STAR card to the bus driver the bus driver knows that they're a K 12 student and hopefully that means they're keeping a closer eye on them" said Jenkins.
Chief transit officer Angela Baldwin said the STAR program is another safe way for students to get to school, stating parents will be able to track down their child if necessary.
"The operator of course is able to train to handle any emergency situations that may arrive as they receive training on de-escalation so they're able to assist the student if they're any concerns or issues that they have on the bus," said Baldwin.
Leon County school officials told ABC 27 they're proud of the this partnership and this is another step to provide additional safety.
"Its been a big push to make sure we can tract the ridership but also provide some back end information for star metro to know who's riding their buses in case of an emergency" said Chris Petley.
To be eligible for the STAR program, an application must be completed.
Students in grades 6 through 12 will need a STAR program card and a current signed agreement on file. Students in Kindergarten through fifth grade may only participate if the student is riding with a sixth grader, older sibling, legal guardian or parent.