District Information

General Information
For Parents: Transportation Fact Sheet

Q. Why were bus routes changed this year? There was nothing wrong with them.

A. The need for new bus routes stemmed from the required schedule changes at the elementary schools. The Waverly School did not have enough instructional time built into the schedule, and we risked losing a significant amount of state aid if we did not make changes. Further, we had continual crowding issues on several routes at the High School and Middle School due to growing enrollment.

Q. Why did my school “lose” buses, and where did that savings go?

A. Overall, the District did not reduce the number of buses. In prior years, the District would use most of its buses twice on elementary runs, for example Greenvale then Waverly. Due to the scheduling changes, that is no longer possible.

Q. Why did the District eliminate monitors on the Greenvale and Anne Hutch buses?

A. Monitors were not eliminated. The District has always provided monitors for Waverly only. If your bus was one of the buses that did a double run at the elementary schools, then your Anne Hutch or Greenvale bus may have had a monitor on it coincidentally. Not all Anne Hutch and Greenvale buses had monitors on them in prior years, only those that also serviced Waverly.

Q. What is the capacity of a bus?

A. All large buses have a 66-student capacity, and there are 66 seat belts on all buses.

Q. Why are there so many students on the bus?

A. The New York State Education Department guidelines suggest that buses should be fully loaded. The District has routed Waverly buses to transport 66 students, Greenvale and Anne Hutch buses to transport 55 students, and the High School and Middle School buses to transport 44 students. However, based on head counts taken in prior years, bus utilization is about 80% at Waverly, and 60-70% at Greenvale and Anne Hutch.

Q. Why did my stop change this year?

A. Stops were changed this year to reduce the number of stops the bus makes overall. According to NYSED, frequent stops add to the time required to complete a route, create more traffic hazards, and may result in a greater potential for bus accidents.

Q. Does NYSED have a limit on the amount of time a student can spend on a bus?

A. No, Education Law (EL 3635) does not contain a maximum length of time that a pupil may spend riding on a school bus, only that the time be reasonable.  The Commissioner of Education has held that a trip of 1 ½ hours, in particular situations, was not unreasonable. However, the District is striving to limit in-district bus routes to 45-minutes or less. In most cases, it is significantly less. Only a few routes that extend far from the school of attendance are approaching this length. Limiting the number of stops will help keep the routes reasonable.

Q. Why is the bus still running late after four days of school? Shouldn’t things have settled by now?

A. There are many factors that affect how a bus runs: drivers, routes, students, parents, traffic, weather, to name a few. During the first few weeks of school, everyone is still adjusting. It typically takes 2-3 days for the drivers to complete their routes accurately, and then another few days to become efficient driving them. Delays are to be anticipated during this time. Once we believe that a route is as good as it’s going to get, we then can make adjustments to fine tune them, and notify parents if there is to be any change in pick-up or drop-off time. In fact, we are doing this with the High School and Middle School runs this week. In most instances, the overall length of the route will not change, just the start time adjusted to align with arrival and departure times.

Q. Why do I have to wait three weeks to have my stop change request considered?

A. As stated above, it can take a few weeks to determine how a route is running. Changing from a stop to an existing stop is not usually an issue, but requests for stops to be added can require the re-routing of a bus. We cannot determine if adding a stop will negatively impact a route until we know how the route is performing. This takes time. Please be patient.

Q. What if I feel my new stop is unsafe? Shouldn’t my request be honored immediately?

A. An excerpt from the SED website states: “School bus stops are established by weighing a multitude of factors existing at every stop. There is no formula for districts that does not involve a judgment call. Courts require that a district choose a stop with ‘reasonable’ safety, not the ‘safest stop.’“ The District will make every effort to consider your request, however, this will take time. As always, please be reminded that parents/guardians are responsible for the safety of their children getting to and while at the bus stop.

Q. Why are there multiple buses servicing the same neighborhood? The routes don’t seem to make sense, I see the same bus several times.

A. This year, significant attention was paid to ensuring that the buses were not overloaded. If there are multiple buses in an area, it is because adding those stops to another route already in that neighborhood would have overloaded that bus. Once we have better information on bus usage after the first few weeks, we may be able to revise the routes if necessary. Also, the drivers were still learning the routes, which may have attributed to buses seeming to be going in circles. There is also a significant number of one-way streets in Eastchester which impacts how the bus must travel.

Q. My child’s bus passes my stop, but doesn’t drop off until much later in the route. Why can’t the bus just stop now?

A. Generally, bus routes are run in the same order in the morning and the afternoon. This is for equity purposes, so that those with a long ride in the morning will have a short ride in the afternoon. Making those first few stops for the convenience of those students extends the ride for the other students. However in some instances, usually due to traffic patterns, this is not always possible to accomplish.

Q. Is the District working with the bus company to resolve these issues?

A. Please know that the District is completely aware of the issues we are having with the bus company, and we are working collaboratively to resolve them. We have had several meetings and daily phone calls with them. The bus company has brought in its drivers over the past two days to ensure that they know their routes completely. This should greatly improve the routes. If changes are still needed, we will make them.

Q. If we are unhappy with the bus company, can’t we just change companies?

A. In accordance with General Municipal Law, the District is required to use a competitive bidding process to obtain a transportation company. The District issued a bid this past spring, and First Student was the lowest responsible bidder. We do have the right to terminate the contract on 120 days’ notice. But, we would also need to have another bus company lined up upon termination, if we could get one on such short notice, and basically start over. We have a liquidating damages clause in the contract, and will use it if these problems cannot be resolved to our satisfaction.

Q. Why doesn’t the District just purchase buses and run an in-house operation? Wouldn’t we have better control that way?

A. To accomplish this, we would need to purchase or lease over 25 vehicles; purchase or lease property locally to build or lease a bus depot large enough to accommodate these vehicles; hire mechanics, drivers, monitors, and an administrative Transportation Supervisor. This would not be a financially viable alternative.

Q. Why is there no monitor on the EASY/Lincoln Academy bus?

A. In prior years, the EASY program provided an employee to ride the bus from Waverly. They recently informed us that the will not be doing so again this year. A board of education, at its discretion, may provide transportation between before/after child care locations and school. There is no obligation to do so. If additional supervision is requested on this bus, we will contact EASY/Lincoln Academy to provide such supervision, as they did in the past.

Q. Why aren’t the buses air conditioned? Why haven’t the windows been opened?

A. Big buses are not air conditioned. This is not a requirement of NYSED or the contract with First Student. The smaller vans all have air conditioning. We have directed the bus company to ensure all windows are opened prior to the beginning of the route on hot days.

Q. Can the routes be posted on the District’s website so we can all have a better understanding of how the buses are routed?

A. Posting bus routes on a public site creates a safety concern. We do not want to publicize when and where young children will be at bus stops.

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General Information
For Parents