Providence Parents Meet to Discuss about School Bus Issues: Next Steps

[ 0 ] September 18, 2013 |

I was not at the parent meeting on September 17 at the JCC prompted by the plethora of school bus issues this year in Providence. Providence parent and organizer Michelle Meek shares a brief update below after the meeting in regard to the Providence school bus problems. She has outlined key problems and immediate, short and long-term solutions to submit to the city and PPSD based on the discussion below.  If you have something to add, please email Michelle at mm@michelemeek.com. I am a parent of two kids in the Providence Public School District but since my kids do not take the bus, I do not have any first hand experience myself. But I want to help parents collectively organize around this important issue of the safety of our children. – Anisa

D68D07640DCF4234A7601FBBC12E0999Details from the School Bus Meeting & Next Steps

It is only by our continued persistence and refusal to accept anything less than safe, punctual and responsible bus service that will we be able to succeed as a community on this issue.

Problems Raised:

  • No consistent ability to communicate with First Student/Bus Yard/PPSD.
  • Missing monitors, untrained monitors, and monitors who cannot communicate (i.e. Do not speak English.)
  • Untrained and irresponsible bus drivers.
  • No apparent safety protocol for releasing children.
  • There are not enough buses leading to:
    • Overcrowding
    • Long, circuitous routes
    • High school students sharing buses with elementary students
    • Different buses/drivers/monitors on different days of the week for some schools
    • Tardiness
    • Chronic tardiness to and from school.
    • RIPTA overburdened/No discounted bus pas.

Results so Far:

  • PPSD has negotiated with RIPTA to add an additional 42 bus down Hope Street on late start days (started today) to ease the burden on Classical students and parents.

IMMEDIATE RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Bus monitors must be on all buses without exception.
  • All drivers and monitors should be coherent, capable, and properly trained, without exception.
  • All students should have the same bus number every day of the week.
  • First Student must initiate a clear, consistent, publicly stated protocol for child release. Changes suggested by parents must be incorporated.
  • First Student Inc/Bus Yard must set up an effective, accessible parent communication system immediately.  A record of all issues and First Student responses must be kept.
  • A point person at PPSD must be identified to deal with bus issues.
  • All shared routes (like the 121 VG/HBS) that clearly do not work must be separated to two routes, two buses immediately.

SHORT-TERM RECOMMENDATIONS

  • More buses must be added (at least to the same level as last year).
  • Students should have the same bus driver and monitor every day of the week.
  • All routes must be re-investigated. PPSD promised to meet with consulting company that created new routes to re-analyze and re-do routes to address lateness and erratic bus arrival/departure times.
  • Classical students should be entitled to bus pass discounts, like college students.

LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS

  • Providence must consider any and all other options to First Student, Inc. including dividing routes/schools between companies or investigating other national companies such as those being used in Boston.
  • The RI law for length of bus rides should be shortened to 1.5 hours per day.  Within the city of Providence, length must be 1 hour or less.
  • Shifting of school start and end times for budgetary reasons MUST be re-examined.

KEEP IN TOUCH

NEXT STEPS

  • There is a Providence Public School Board meeting this Monday, September 23 at 6:30 pm on the 3rd floor of the Providence School Department’s administration building at 797 Westminster Street, Providence, RI. I highly encourage people to go to this and continue to make their voices heard — I am planning to go as well.

Category: community news


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Kidoinfo is community of many voices. I invite you to contribute your news and ideas. Here you will find posts from a rotating group writers; sharing their parenting stories, local news, community services, creative ideas and more. Want to share your story, news and ideas? Please contact Anisa here: http://kidoinfo.com/contactform/

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