School Bus Update: Revised routes finally to be posted next week

by beth on September 10, 2019

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Keeping with this morning’s transportation update theme. . .

I never posted the latest updates on the School Bus situation. (This shouldn’t be new information for parents with kids in the public schools. This is just to get up to speed the other readers who have been following the situation.)

On the first day of school, I shared a promise from the Northborough-Southborough District that new bus routes would be posted on Sunday, September 1st.

That was revised by the administration the next day to push changes to Tuesday, September 3rd based on feedback from Principals. With the situation seeming to be better in hand, on September 1st, Superintendent Greg Martineau announced that new postings would again be pushed, this time to “late next week”. The latest announcement on Friday, September 6th, pushed that off again.

New routes will be posted on September 16th and followed beginning the morning of the 17th. That’s almost in keeping with the district’s initial plan announced in early August.

The administration had planned to post preliminary routes, accept public feedback and post revised routes that would be frozen from August 23rd to mid September. (Exceptions would be made for safety issues.)

But with too many errors in the revised route, the administration was forced to post last minute changes the day before school started. Then, overloaded buses caused chaos and multiple rounds of changes over the first two days. (The issues were blamed on a technical “glitch”.)

As fixes were implemented, instead of posting revised routes, the schools communicated directly with students and families to change or confirm which bus students should take. (Which means that the routes posted on the district website aren’t the ones currently being followed for Southborough.)

Here is the communication from last Friday: 

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s):

I have an important transportation update for Southborough families. Over the past week, we have been revisiting all Southborough transportation routes to ensure that they are logically designed and are safe. This work included: revisiting June 2019 bus routes and using these routes as a baseline; having administrative assistants, principals, and North Reading Transportation (NRT) review each student’s AM and PM bus assignment, and; cross-referencing form submissions for any safety concerns that were not addressed with the revised bus routes.

Next week we will be engaged in the process of syncing all revised routes with the routing software and working with NRT to ensure bus drivers are prepared to drive the revised routes. The updated routes will be implemented on Tuesday morning, September 17, 2019. Our communication plan is as follows:

September 16, 2019: Revised routes will be posted to the Transportation webpage at 10:00 AM
September 16, 2019: Each student will receive a hard-copy letter indicating his/her bus number and stop location
September 17, 2019: Tuesday morning new routes will be implemented by NRT

If you have safety concerns after next Tuesday’s implementation of the revised routes, please contact your child’s building principal who will then communicate with the Transportation Department. I appreciate your patience as we work to correct the transportation routes.

Respectfully,

Greg Martineau

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