I apologize for this lengthy email, but please review in its entirety. This information is being sent as a follow up to my message of August 31st. In that message I outlined a change we were making with regular daytime bus runs on a trial basis through this week as a last ditch effort to restore late busses for the current year. For the past three weeks we ran one fewer bus in both Rowley and Salisbury. If these routes had worked, the money saved would have restored late runs at all campuses.
Unfortunately, the changes did not work as smoothly as we hoped, and numbers of students riding have been too high on some runs. We have heard from many families who are not having their children ride because the buses are so packed. Further, arrival times in the morning have been impacted with the changes, causing disruptions to the start of the day. While student numbers are still within safety guidelines, the disruption is too great to continue long term. With that in mind, I have made the decision that we need to add back the daytime runs for both for Rowley and Salisbury, which means late buses will not be running this year.
As outlined in my previous email, we determined that we would make the call by this week, and institute changes as of this coming Monday. Unfortunately, our transportation company (NRT) is still in the process of hiring and training drivers as substitutes and for these runs. This has proven very difficult as there is a shortage of drivers that is well documented across the state and region. We are dependent on the state for their approvals of licenses and testing of drivers, and there is a considerable back log of drivers awaiting approval at the state level. As a result, we will not be able to restore the additional Rowley and Salisbury run until Tuesday, October 10th, the day after the Columbus Day holiday.
Bus routes will be re-posted to the website and a notice sent out to families no later than Friday, October 6th. Again, actual bus stops will not change, but the bus (#) picking up your child(ren) and corresponding pickup/drop off times may change accordingly. Again, these changes will not take place until Tuesday, October 10th.
I sincerely apologize for any confusion this has caused. Given the impact of losing late buses, I still believe it was worth giving these alternate bus routes a try. However, now confirming that the changes have created complications that we can’t remedy, we will not be able to sustain the modified routes, and therefore are not able to add late buses back.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.