School bus pickups to shift 10 minutes earlier – Wednesday morning

by beth on September 7, 2021

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Over the long weekend, the Northborough-Southborough Public Schools announced that bus pick ups will begin earlier tomorrow morning. The timing adjustment appears to be due to issues getting some students to school on time. 

On Friday Superintendent Gregory Martineau acknowledged issues in an email to parents on Friday: 

I will share that the Transportation Department is working on ensuring that the bus routes are efficient and timely. The District is working closely with the Northborough and Southborough Police Departments to help with traffic. As with any start to a school year traffic on the first week is more intense than normal and will settle into a routine. Furthermore, bus drivers are also learning their routes and student riders. As they get acclimated, they will become more efficient in running their routes. During this time, I’m asking for your patience.

An email yesterday afternoon from Asst. Superintendent of Operations Kieth Lavoie announced the schedule change:

The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough would like to thank all the students, parents, faculty, staff, and bus drivers for their patience and continued support for the new start time initiative. Our NRT drivers have shared that it has been great seeing their students and that they are becoming more familiar with their routes.

As with any new school year, the bus routes take time and repetition to become predictable and dependable. This year, we are seeing a similar pattern, and with each time we run the routes, the performance has improved.

Additionally, we have identified some adjustments that will help. All AM bus routes will start 10-minutes earlier beginning Wednesday, September 8, 2021. The time differential will not be exactly 10 minutes for every stop. However, please arrive at your bus stop 10 minutes earlier than you did last week. As an example, if your bus arrived at 7:40, it should arrive at approximately 7:30. We are confident that this adjustment will improve the timing of the routes.

We appreciate your patience and understanding. The start of the school year is an exciting time and is about establishing positive routines. We want to make sure that our student’s start of day and end of day experiences are positive.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SB Resident September 8, 2021 at 10:08 AM

Moving the bus times 10 minutes earlier is an embarrassment when the whole point was for everything in the morning to be later. In previous years, the earliest bus pickups were 6:30, with this adjustment, they are now 6:50. We’ve really only gained a 20 minute benefit for ARHS students, when we were sold a 40 minute gain. The cost of that 20 minute gain is an extra 20-40 minutes or more on the bus for almost everybody when including both trips per day. Neary students are on the bus 25 minutes just in the afternoon before their route even starts.

I fully support starting school later, it still isn’t late enough in my opinion. However, the bussing and other adjustments made to enable the later start times are worse than the benefit gained.

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2 SouthboroMass September 8, 2021 at 8:31 PM

The school bus times have been terrible. Because of the new ARHS the start time, it has caused a terrible ripple effect with the other bus routes. The buses are always late for school. My child is on the bus with so many kids from older grades and they are jammed in there like sardines. Last year there was assigned seating bc of covid , now it’s a free for all and kids are searching for a seat on the bus. And by the time my child comes home it’s almost dinner time. What a disaster.

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3 resident September 13, 2021 at 10:30 AM

I heard the other day from one of the bus drivers that any of the drivers who does not miss a day of work in any given month is being given a $200 for each month without absences. Imagine that, getting a bonus for doing your job! No wonder the school budgets are ridiculous. Makes one wonder who else is being given secret bonuses for doing their job! Great job Martineau, still wasting taxpayer money.

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4 Mom September 13, 2021 at 1:09 PM

The bus drivers do not work for the school district. The school district has a contract with the bus company and the bus company manages it’s employees as it sees fit. Kudos to the bus company for rewarding it’s outstanding employees! I’m sure it’s a difficult job with long hours and lots of complaining people to deal with. They earn it.

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