Boston Public Schools’ school committee approves Interim Superintendent John McDonough’s budget recommendation for the 2015 fiscal year, which included a proposal to expand the district’s mass transit bus pass program to more seventh- and eighth-grade students and eliminate yellow bus service for these students. The move is reportedly met by opposition from some, including the Boston City Council, which believes the proposal requires more evaluation.
Boston Public Schools’ interim superintendent submits a balanced budget recommendation for the 2015 school year, with a proposal to reduce transportation costs by expanding the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority pass program to more seventh- and eighth-grade students. This measure is among several transportation-related proposals designed to save $11 million.
Some Whitehorse, Yukon, high school students now have the option to ride city buses for free instead of school buses as part of a pilot created by the government of Yukon and the city of Whitehorse. The free transit passes are intended to give students another option for transportation if they stay late for after-school activities, and for getting to places other than home.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) directs a Michigan agency to halt several routes that were introduced in 2010 to transport about 300 students. The ruling comes a month after the FTA issued a similar order to a South Dakota transit agency.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issues the order to Yankton Transit of Lake Andes earlier this month in response to a complaint that the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) filed in 2011, finding that the agency’s school bus routes are not open to or meant to serve the general public. NSTA President Magda Dimmendaal says “we are glad to see violations such as this recognized and enforced by FTA.”
A Transportation Research Board committee was not able to pinpoint data on student transit fatalities because students are not an established subset of transit ridership. This said, a strong transit system can play an important role in high school education.
Officials at Minneapolis Public Schools request a report on the absenteeism, but analysis has not yet been completed on whether the transit passes are responsible for the increase. Still, officials are discussing with Metro Transit whether it's possible to discourage students from skipping school by limiting the hours that they can use the passes.
Some parents in Minneapolis are voicing their concerns about a new move to have high school students use the transit system instead of riding yellow buses to school. Shelly Jonas of the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association tells SBF that the fact that these parents are demanding yellow buses is an encouraging sign for school bus contractors, for whom competition from transit agencies is a national issue.
The City Department of Transportation Services will increase city bus service on four routes. A transit official says that the move aims to ensure that students "won’t be stranded when school starts."
Minneapolis Public Schools will expand its transit ridership program, replacing yellow buses for eligible high school students beginning in the next school year. Officials say that various agencies are working together "to ensure that students’ riding safety is a top priority."
As Senate committees take up a surface transportation reauthorization bill, the National School Transportation Association puts out a call to ask that senators support provisions that protect private school bus companies from transit encroachment.
Minneapolis Public Schools is considering unlimited-ride transit passes instead of yellow school bus service for high school transportation. The district cites potential benefits for students but acknowledges that it would have less control over stops and routes and less ability to mitigate certain risks.
At the National School Transportation Association’s Capitol Hill Fly-In, members meet with representatives to push for continued protections for school bus operators, including the federal fuel tax exemption and the ban on transit encroachment. Association President Donald Fowler calls it “by far the best Capitol Hill Fly-In NSTA has put together in many years.”