Overview

The Triton RIMG_0276egional School Committee adopted a revised transportation policy on June 8, 2011 that went into effect in September, 2011. The changes of note revolve around the fact that we now transport ALL students, regardless of the distance of the students’ residence from his/her school of attendance. In order to do this, bus stops were consolidated, establishing them at more common, safe locations rather than multiple smaller stops. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that their child arrives and remains safe while at the bus stop. The other change of note is regarding late busses.

If you have an emergency or timely question, please contact the school office. Contact information is as follows:

High School: (978) 462-8171 press “0”

Middle School: (978) 463-5845 press “0”

Newbury Elementary School: (978) 465-5353

Pine Grove School: (978) 948-2520 press “0”

Salisbury Elementary School: (978) 463-5852 press “0”

For comments, questions, or concerns relating to Student Transportation Services, please email Michelle Cresta, School Business Administrator, at michelle.cresta@tritonschools.org. Please be as specific as possible about your request or concern. You can expect a response in 1 to 2 business days from submitting this information.

If you have a routine question about the location of bus stops, the stop to which your child is assigned, or general route times and locations, you can contact North Reading Transportation directly at (978) 462-0820. Please note that no changes to routes, stops, or locations can be changed directly through North Reading Transportation. Those requests must be submitted in writing to Michelle Cresta at the email contact above.

Policy

Policy of the School Committee:  File: EEA / 509
STUDENT TRANSPORTATION SERVICES


1. Introduction

The purpose of the school district’s transportation services is to aid students in getting to and from school and school related events in a safe, efficient, and economical manner.

The purpose of this policy is to achieve the above goals while providing the service in an as equitable manner as circumstances allow.

2. Contracted services

The district contracts for transportation services. Contracts will be awarded on a competitive bid basis. Bus contractors and van contractors, who will be held responsible for the safe operation of school vehicles, will comply with all applicable state laws and regulations, including but not limited to:

1. Specifications for school bus design and equipment
2. Inspection of buses
3. Qualifications and examinations of bus drivers
4. Driving regulations
5. Small vehicle requirements, if applicable
6. Insurance coverage
7. Adherence to local regulations and directives as specified in bid contracts.

The Superintendent of Schools and/or designee, working with the bus contractor and other appropriate administrators, will be responsible for establishing bus schedules, routes, stops, and all other matters relative to the transportation program.

3. Matters Covered By The Policy

This policy provides information on:

  • students’ rights to free transport to and from school
  • bus passes
  • bus stops
  • transport for after school programs
  • safety and safety tips
  • rules/expectations of students

4. Free Transportation

In accordance with the laws and regulations in effect for regional school districts, transportation will be provided for all students in Grades K through 12 enrolled in the district, regardless of the distance of their home to their school of attendance. Transportation is not provided for students who attend a school under the district’s school choice arrangements, regardless of whether the students are out of district or in-district residents.

5.   Bus Passes

Bus passes will be issued to all students in grades 7 through 12 within the first two weeks of school. Once issued, students will not be allowed on buses without a pass.  Students must ride the bus to which they have been assigned which will be detailed on the bus pass. There will be a fee of $10.00 for a replacement pass.

6. School Bus Stops: General

The school bus routes will be reviewed on an annual basis to take account of the distribution of students, demand and the efficient use of resources, and the length of journey times. Additional bus stops increase journey times and gas consumption, both of which we seek to minimize.

Parents/guardians are responsible for getting their child safely to the correct bus stop and for ensuring their safety while at the bus stop prior to pick-up and after drop-off.

Children will walk or be driven to a common stop serving a local area.

All Kindergarten and Grade 1 students must be met at the bus stop by an adult.  Students not met will be brought back to school. Kindergarten and Grade 1 students will be assigned to a general common bus stop along with all other students.

The district is not resourced to provide a street-to-street or door-to-door pick-up or drop-off service. Due to safety restrictions, the minimum distance between any two stops will be no less than 100 yards, but will often be greater depending upon the density of the student population in a given area along the route. No student will be assigned to a bus stop that is further than one mile from their home.

Using GPS enabled routing software, the contractor, working with the district, will identify bus stops at safe locations that provide the greatest efficiency.

School bus drivers are not authorized to make changes, additions or deletions of any bus stops.

Bus routes will be published in the local paper and on the Triton Regional School District website at tritonschools.org/transportation by the week before school starts at the latest.  An email will be sent to all listserv subscribers when the routes are posted.

7. Bus Stop Locations

The location of bus stops will be based upon the following criteria:

  • located at centralized locations where students may safely load and unload, cross highways, and await arrival of buses
  • consideration given road conditions, speed limits and traffic volume
  • adequate clear vision for pedestrians and traffic in each direction
  • located away from known hazards, i.e.: railroads, cliffs, rivers, high-speed highway on and off ramps, residences of known sexual offenders
  • buses do not need to back up to either enter or leave the location
  • within reasonable walking distances from students’ homes, and no more than 1 mile from a student’s home
  • journey times are reasonable given the resources available
  • the age and the number of students at the bus stop
  • whenever possible, near street corners or landmarks
  • on maintained public roads only

8. After School Programs – Late Busses

(Note:  Funding is not available for late busses for the 2017-2018 school year.  Late busses are not currently being provided.)

The District places great value in students’ having after school program opportunities. To enable more students to participate, the district will continue to provide late busses for those students participating in after school activities, events, or academic enrichment. These busses will begin running toward the end of September and will run through June. Late busses run Monday through Thursday and depart from the Middle and High School at approximately 3:35 p.m. and from the Elementary Schools at 4:05 p.m. These start times may be adjusted from year to year, with prior notice to all families, as ridership needs change based on after school programming.

Ridership of late bus runs varies from day to day based upon student schedules. In addition, there are only two busses that complete the route for each town from each school. This means that each bus is covering approximately half of the town. As such, the stops for late busses are far less frequent, and the routes may take considerable time. In order to keep route times down and provide a somewhat consistent schedule for parents/guardians wishing to pick up their children, consistent routes will be established for the 2011/2012 school year and will be run each day. However, please be aware that flexibility in ridership will cause variance in times by as much as 10 to 15 minutes. Parents and guardians should plan accordingly.

9. Bus Riding Rules And Privileges

Terms and Conditions for bus riding privileges are as follows:

  1. A bus pass may not be used by anyone other than the individual for whom the pass was issued.
  2. For students in Grades 7 – 12, the bus pass must be shown upon boarding the bus.
  3. The bus will be boarded in an orderly manner.
  4. While riding on the bus, students are prohibited from moving about, throwing objects, or extending any part of their bodies outside of the bus, which could distract the driver from the safe operation of the vehicle.
  5. Students are not permitted to open doors or windows without permission of the bus driver.  Students are not to touch emergency exits, unless instructed to do so.
  6. Smoking or lighting anything on the bus is prohibited by State Law; this also refers to drugs and alcohol.
  7. Students may not use cell-phones on buses except in an emergency.
  8. All school rules apply on the bus.
  9. Students may not change buses or bus stops without prior approval of the main office of the school of attendance.

Riding the school bus is a privilege.  Behavior issues will be dealt with in accordance to School Policy., which may include the suspension or the revocation of riding privileges.

Student Behavior

It is a privilege to ride the bus. Behavior that is discourteous or endangers the health and safety of others will not be tolerated. The bus driver is the sole authority on the bus and will communicate with the school to resolve any behavior issues. Conduct reports will be issued as follows:

  • Warning – Verbal notice to student
  • 1st Report – Written notice to parent/guardian
  • 2nd Report – Written notice to parent/guardian
  • 3rd Report – Loss of riding privileges for three days
  • 4th Report – Loss of riding privileges for five days
  • Subsequent reports – Loss of riding privileges up to and including the remainder of the school year
  • Serious Violations – Immediate loss of riding privileges particularly when be-havior jeopardizes safety or impinges upon the authority of the driver

Students are responsible for any damage to the bus. The bus company will determine cost of repair. Riding privileges will be suspended until payment is made and consequences have been completed.

Bus Routes

Bus routes are determined using Transfinder GPS enabled routing software. By using this system, we are able to provide safe, efficient, and cost effective bus routes and stops that meet, and in many instances exceed, the minimum statutory requirements for transporting students. Please note that GPS is not perfect, so all of the routes are reviewed to ensure that a human eye has been used in making the final decision. Pursuant to MGL Chapter 71, Section 68, schools are required to provide transportation to any student who’s residence is more than two miles from his/her assigned school. This requirement is further clarified in regards to the distance between each child’s home and bus stop, which cannot exceed one (1) mile.

The financial implication for us as a regional school district is further clarified MGL Chapter 71, Section 16C. According to this statute, the restrictions around the state reimbursement pull the distance closer to the schools, and we are not reimbursed for any student being transported within one and one half (1.5) miles of their assigned school.

Taking into account these two laws, and keeping in mind that the vast majority of the school district geography does not contain side walks, we provide stops well within the 1 mile requirement. On the elementary routes we provide more frequent stops, while on the middle/high school routes we run fewer busses with less frequent stops.

Responsibilities of the Triton Regional School District:

  1. Provide all eligible students to a bus stop within one (1) mile of their home.
  2. Provide bus stops that are reasonably spaced, and not too frequent, which statistically increases the likelihood of rear end collisions
  3. Provide bus stops at a safe location that provides sufficient space for students to wait out of the street
  4. Provide bus stops at commonly accessible locations for all students assigned to that bus stop.

Responsibilities of the Parents/Guardians:

  1. Ensure that their child(ren) get to the bus stop safely, and on time, at the start of the school day
  2. Ensure that their child(ren) return safely from the bus stop to home at the end of the school day

2017-2018 School Year Regular Bus Routes

(updated 10/5/17)

Late Buses - UPDATED

UPDATED from Email on September 21, 2017

Good Afternoon,

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.

Thank you,
Brian

Brian L. Forget
Superintendent of Schools
Brian.Forget@tritonschools.org
(978) 465-2397


August 31, 2017

Good Afternoon,

I apologize for this lengthy email, but please read this entire message in detail as the bus/timing of your child’s pickup and drop off may have changed as of today (Thursday, August 31st).

As you are all well aware by now, all late busses were cut in the budget development process for this year because of financial challenges. We have been working hard to try and find other funding that may be able to restore some or all of the late busses across our 5 schools, as we know this is a significant impact for families. I’m happy to report that we believe we’ve found a solution, combining some regular daytime (before/after school) runs to reduce costs, allowing us to use those funds to restore late busses. I apologize for the late notice and change, but we believe this solution we were just able to confirm is worth trying given the fact that it will restore the late busses that so many rely upon.

It is important to note that we are going to make changes on a trial basis at first. Based on ridership and enrollments which have declined slowly in recent years, we will attempt to reduce 1 bus run for Rowley and 1 for Salisbury, leaving 8 busses for Salisbury, and 7 each for Newbury and Rowley. The savings from these two reductions will fund late busses for all schools for the coming year. Please note, in combining these runs we will be keeping ALL existing stops as they were posted last week, but it may be that a different bus will be picking up your child(ren). The length of the routes may have fluctuated by a few minutes in either direction. Please review the bus runs again to find your stop and confirm the route number and timing for pick up on Tuesday morning.

The routes are posted at http://www.tritonschools.org/transportation/#tab-id-4. Again, stops will not have changed, but your stop may have been assigned to a different route.

The plan is to try these modified daily runs for the first 3 weeks of school, starting Tuesday, September 5th, until Friday, September 22nd. If the changes work and have not caused overcrowding with actual ridership patterns, we will keep the runs as posted today and start late busses on Monday, September 25th. Late busses will run 4 days per week at the Middle/High School, and 3 days at the elementary schools. Schedules will be confirmed later. If we find that the reconfigured routes are indeed causing overcrowding, then we’ll revert back to the original bus runs (adding 1 back for Salisbury and Rowley) and we won’t be able to have late busses for this year. We’ll send out a notice by the middle of the week of September 18th with an update on whether or not the change worked and the plan for Monday, September 25th.

Again, I apologize for this late notice, but given the fact a solution was just finally identified, I hope you agree that it was worth attempting this change given the potential of restoring late busses for all schools. To confirm one more time, bus stops have not changed, but the bus picking/dropping your child may have, so please recheck the routes as posted at the link above.

If you have any questions about the bus stops or timing, please document the question or concern via email (Please do not call!) to Michelle Cresta atMichelle.Cresta@tritonschools.org so that she can accurately track any changes to routes. Those who have been in contact in recent weeks about changes to routes should see any agreed changes are made and posted as of today.

Thank you for your attention to all these details.

Regards,

Brian Forget

Superintendent of Schools

Brian.Forget@tritonschools.org