Students will find Wake County Public School System buses making fewer stops on routes, and students may walk farther from home to the bus stop. With these changes, the school system encourages families to check bus stop locations posted online for traditional calendar schools at www.wcpss.net/routes.
These changes are the result of WCPSS Transportation Department work to create efficient bus routes to serve student bus riders. There is a change in student riders every school year resulting in changes in stops and routes. To increase the efficiency of operation, the school system has consolidated bus routes and stops. There are 116 fewer runs and 4,000 fewer stops for 2014-15 school buses compared with last year’s service.
The school board has established maximum walking distances to bus stops for:
Elementary students of three-tenths of a mile.
Middle school students of five-tenths of a mile.
High school students of five-tenths of a mile.
Assignment to an express stop requires parents to transport their child to the stop in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. Express bus stops are located on longer bus routes providing service to application and magnet schools. These stops are designed to reduce the ride time on these routes by making fewer stops. To improve efficiency and performance, the school system has relocated some express bus stops to schools and community centers.
During the summer, new students and new bus riders were asked to sign up for bus service for the first time and cut off dates were established for guaranteeing bus service for the first day of school. The school system has started the year providing residential service for students, picking students up near their homes in the morning and returning them there in the afternoon.
Families who want students sent to a before or after school care provider were asked to request an alternate bus stop. Additionally, students not eligible for transportation such as students who received a transfer to a school where they agreed to provide transportation may also apply for transportation. In both cases, the school system will begin to review the requests 30 days after the start of the school year to see if existing buses on existing routes can serve these students. Depending on the actual ridership of eligible students, some bus routes may be combined or reduced impacting the ability to provide service to ineligible students.
Assistant principals at year round schools say they are seeing a smooth start for transportation at their schools at the start of the school year.
The changes mean the Transportation Department can use the same number of buses and drivers to serve the thousands of additional students who enrolled in school this year. They were able to provide this service despite further state cuts to the school system transportation budget.