Changed Bus Stops???

Discussions about the town school transportation system.

Changed Bus Stops???

Postby mommyof3 on Wed Sep 04, 2002 2:20 pm

Hi!
This is my first time here visiting on this site. I was just wondering if anyone else had their bus stop changed this year? I have tried to contact Dave Libby about changing it back, however, he never seems to be in the office when I call. After leaving numerous messages he still hasn't called me back. My whole take on the deal is if you are going to make a change then you should at least be ready to take the heat for it and answer to some unhappy parents. Anyone else have a similar situation? Any suggestions?
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby AnneW on Wed Sep 04, 2002 3:55 pm

You can try contacting the principal of your children's school. They use to have some oversight in such things.
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby dan_mazik on Wed Sep 04, 2002 4:38 pm

Hi, Mom. I drive my son to the Dewing in the mornings, but he takes the bus home because he likes to ride with his friends.

Last year, he got out of school at 3. I'd meet him at the bus stop no later than 3:20 and sometimes as early as 3:15.

This year he's getting out of school at 3:15. He's also taking a new bus route this year which I don't understand because we're still living in the same place. The first few days I waited until 4:05 for him to get to our stop. The last couple of days I've been meeting him at 4.

We've talked to Mr. Libby's office and they acknowledge that there is a problem and they told us that they would be looking at the routes again. I'm giving them about 1 more week and then after that, if my son is still spending 45 minutes on the bus, then we'll be discontinuing using the bus service and I'll just have to start picking him up at the school. 45 minutes is way too long for my 7-yr-old to be spending on a bus every afternoon.
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby swamper on Wed Sep 04, 2002 5:36 pm

Welcome to the crazy world of Tewksbury School Bus Routes! Reminds me of an "old familiar story"! Some years ago, when my daughter was at North St. elementary, even though we were "a stone's throw" away from the school, she got picked up by the bus at our driveway since there were/are no sidewalks. Our house was literally the "last stop" of the route (at the time) before arriving at the school (which was a good thing if you were running late!) HOWEVER... the same bus route was done in the same order for the trip home after school actually driving PAST my house in the opposite direction.... but because they refused to stop across from my driveway (even if I was waiting there to retrieve her in order for her to cross the street) she now became the LAST drop off arriving home at around 4pm or later, which as you said Dan, is unacceptable for a younger child, particularly on those "early darkened winter afternoons". Thus I resigned myself to picking her up in those early years. "Some" years we "lucked out" in that they reversed the route order for the return trip making her the "first" drop-off, but it varied from year to year and never seemed to be consistent. Considering how overcrowding both at the schools and on the buses has reached critical mass these days, I can only imagine the situation being that much worse. On the upside, for me anyway, she's now in high school and secures a ride to and from, courtesy of an upper classmate! NO MORE BUSES! To the rest of you, I empathize with your situation and GOOD LUCK!!! [img]images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby bferrari on Wed Sep 04, 2002 6:21 pm

Is it possible that routes were changed because of the problems that snow caused last year? Is it possible that is why some stops were moved?
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby ELLE on Wed Sep 04, 2002 7:11 pm

My son's bus doesn't get to my house until 4:05 from the Dewing and we're not the last stop. It's very late. But last year we were the last stop and this year the bus continues onto Charles Drive and makes 4-5 stops after us. I think these changes were done in conjunction with the school hour changes to lessen the number of buses. I'm letting him takes the bus because he has a friend on the bus and likes the ride. I offered to pick him up and he wants to take the bus. So, just because it's a long ride doesn't mean the kids find it burdensome.
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby angel68 on Wed Sep 04, 2002 9:05 pm

If you can't get a hold of Dave Libby, go public...write to the papers. The bus schedules, eliminations of stops, lenghty trips are absurd! I don't blame the drivers, for they are only following orders. Don't they do dry runs? And I thought the time change was suppose to eliminate excessive trips? 45 minutes on the bus or in a cafe right after school is ridiculous. And then they are suppose to do homework?

I know some major streets were cut and combined but it can't be due to snow. We barely had much last year. I don't even recall using a snow day. But they should consider that with the snow, where are these 20 kids going to wait? Atop of ol'smokey? Obviously the time change didn't help. Don't the buses do a dry run before school starts to know how long these routes take? I know we've added time bc we now have 16-19 kids loading on main street every morning. But my kids are coming home earlier, so I can't complain too much on that end. Would however like to see all kids picked up in safe spots and in a timely manner. As for the 45 minute riders, perhaps they should re-install 2nd run and give them some free play in the cafes. Or maybe we should persue aid or other ways to increase our bus budget.
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby swamper on Wed Sep 04, 2002 10:41 pm

Just as an FYI... it was said at the school committee meeting tonight that there were, I believe, well over 200 complaints re. bus issues alone that they're currently trying to address. Probably why some people haven't had their calls returned as yet. Supposedly the "safety issue ones" will be dealt with first. The parents in attendance as well as the viewing public were assured however that all messages/calls to Mr. Libby would be returned as soon as possible given the volume of complaints. Stay tuned....
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby AnneW on Thu Sep 05, 2002 12:07 am

The thing of it is though that ultimately it's the School Department whose responsibility it is, or in my days in Tewksbury schools it was. Tewksbury Transit doesn't answer to the parents. Having parents have to go through them is just a diversionary tactic. They answer to the School Department who is their employer, and with who they made their contract agreements to do whatever both they & the School Department agreed was to be. Yes, Tewksbury Transit does normally make dry runs on the routes, and I know they did several in my area this year before school started. Calling Tewksbury Transit has never got anyone any satisfaction that I know of. Maybe, it works somewhat differently now, but it actually doesn't sound like it's working well at all. When I was in the Tewksbury school system longer ago than I'd like to say my bus route was over a hour for many years each way, and we were ALWAYS going much faster than the speed limit on various streets just to make that time. It covered about half the town some years, and it was always at least 3 to a seat on all the buses. Tewksbury Transit also had less buses I believe then so anything out of the ordinary was always a stretch for them. Like a breakdown for instance, but it was generally nicely handled. The days off school often seemed to go to much needed maintenance on those buses. Now it seems like they're a bigger company with all the modern gadgets. I know, I was amazed to see one in Carver on a weekend last year in the fall.

At any rate, if there was a problem it was up to the school to make it right. Whether it was too many children on a particular bus so someone was found to be standing, or a bus running so late it wasn't picking up children anything close to the time it was supposed to, or getting another bus to cover the route of one that had a breakdown, etc. Yes, I have what would be incredibly bad stories of incidents in past years, but mostly it was made to work because that is the schools responsibility not a bus companies. The bus company made an agreement to provide a certain service for a certain price, and the School Officials need to hold them to that at the very least. Anything else should be unacceptable. Any past incidents that I could mention of the really bad are not things I would ever let go on if I had children currently in the Tewksbury school system. No one got hurt for the most part then, but many of the situations were more quickly resolved, and it was a very different rural Tewksbury. As bad as the Tewksbury school system was in the past apparently they did at least one thing better without just passing the buck on.

As to bus stop changes, I may have mistaken what mommyof3 was asking, but I thought she meant a change from the beginning of this school year? There's only one acceptable reason to make a change and that is for increased safety. I had that happen once. The School Department in an effort to save money changed all the bus stops, and made fewer of them at the beginning of a school year. The new bus stop for the entire neighborhood (all schools & ages) was in an unsafe place. It lasted the first morning pickup of the first day, and by that afternoon dropoff the situation was more than well corrected. I've seen it done during a school year for other reasons such as a driver not liking to go down a street, or wanting to make less stops to save time. These aren't good reasons no matter what the school situation is, and the schools needs to behave that way, and parents shouldn't accept the School Officials excuses on this. For all, it was part of their job and they need to do it.
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby artie on Thu Sep 05, 2002 5:18 am

just to let you parents know don't blame the bus company about your routes . this all comes from the school department.
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby ELLE on Thu Sep 05, 2002 7:05 am

The complaints have been going to Dave Libby. His office is at the Center School so doesn't he work for the school department? I didn't see anybody on this post calling the bus company directly. Since Dave's the same person we pay for the after school program I assumed he was part of the schools.
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby mommyof3 on Thu Sep 05, 2002 7:47 am

Yes, Anne W. thank you for clarifying what I was saying. The stop was moved from last year. Te stop last year was at the end of a quiet street. This year, however it was moved to a dangerous intersection where more children are waiting. When I called the school they directed me to Mr. Libby. In a nutshell, the bus now still has to drive right the street where the stop was last year so I couldn't understand what the big deal was. The stop got moved from a quiet street to a pretty dangerous intersection. I could deal a little better with the change of time in schools (although I'm not thrilled with that either) but my biggest concern is that of having many children waiting at a well travelled intersection. I always walk my children to the stop so I will always be waiting with them, but when I see people come flying around the corner and my life as a mom is in danger that is when it is a safety concern....I may not be able to protect my kids!!!!!!!!
FYI! Thanks for the info. on the school committee meeting last night.
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby dan_mazik on Thu Sep 05, 2002 11:16 am

My son’s not a complainer, in fact he’s the type that you have to ask how things are going because he’s not likely to volunteer that information on his own. I had asked him how the bus ride was and he said it was “kinda too longâ€￾ but when I explained to him that the ‘people in charge’ were working on the problem he said he would wait to see what happened.

Well, this morning he asked me if it would be OK with me if he stopped taking the bus home. Even at only 7, he’s figured out that the 45 minutes he’s riding on the bus would be better spent if he were home during that time: he could get all of his homework done and STILL have time left over for play.

So, tomorrow we’ll be turning in the paperwork necessary to allow me to pick him up from school every day for the rest of the school year. I’m not going to wait another week or month or whatever for the problem to get resolved. IF indeed it ever gets resolved.

And the bottom line is, I STILL don't know why he was taken from last year's route and put on a different route this year, when last year's route worked just fine. Oh well, maybe the buses all had to be re-routed to accomodate all of the "hotel pickups" this year.
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby Lee on Thu Sep 05, 2002 11:59 am

Hi fellow mom of three. We had this problem last year on our street. We live on the end of North Billerica Rd, (which is as busy as Whipple, North and East St.) The policy Dave Libby told us last year was that if your house was directly on the busy street, the bus would pick up at your driveway. If you lived on a cul de sac road, your pick up would be at the end of the cul de sac where it meets the main rd. And if you lived in a large subdivision with cross streets, kids are picked up on various corners within the subdivision. He was very helpful to us last year when we had problems with the busdriver changing the route on his own. Instead of dropping off in the same order as pick up, he would do the reverse. That meant my kids were first on the bus at 8:30am, and last off the bus in the afternoon at 340pm.
He addressed this and the bus went back to the original route, so my kids at least got home 10 minutes sooner at 3:30.
Keep trying to reach Mr. Libby, he may just be overwhelmed with parent complaints, and each return call will probably take him at least 10 or 15 minutes to return and resolve. If he has has 200 complaints since last week, that is a lot of return calls to make in an 8 hour day. He may only be able to handle 50 a day, so be patient, because he really does look out for the children's safety and I am sure you will hear from him soon. Good luck!
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Changed Bus Stops???

Postby KMA on Thu Sep 05, 2002 4:02 pm

I think some of you should get off your "soap-boxes" and give the school department a break. The Tewksbury Public Schools system is certainly not perfect, but your kids and mine are provided with a very solid frame work to be successful. Yes, class
sizes are getting larger, resources both physical and financial are constrained, but our kids are certainly not being denied an education.. The bus routes and schedules are also maxed-out by these elements. The bus routes cover a large geographic area, each family has to equally share in the +/- of
school buses. We all would like our kids to be the last one picked up in the morning, and first on dropped off in the afternoon, but it is not going to happen so forget whining about it!! Read the newspapers and watch the news, many communities now charge a fee for school and bus transportation services. Like I stated earlier, Tewksbury Schools are not perfect, but they're not bad either.
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