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Poll: Talkin' 'Bout School Transportation

What do you think is the biggest deciding factor for families when it comes to school transportation in Lexington? Take our poll or let us know in the comment section below.

Annual Town Meeting voted Monday to subsidize school bus fees, but even supporters of the measure said that's only the first step to improving the school transportation situation in Lexington.

By more than a majority vote on April 9, Lexington’s annual Town Meeting in a move meant to lower school bus fees from $550 per student to $300.

Currently, a little more than 50 percent of Lexington Public Schools students arrive at school in a single-occupancy vehicle, and many parents say school bus fees is the biggest reason more don’t, according to a presentation by Safe Routes to School supporters.

An ad hoc School Transportation and Safety Study Committee has identified three areas where improvements are desirable, including school transportation, community education and public safety.

The town subsidy to lower school bus fees is a first step toward cutting into the estimated 500,000 cars per school year currently used for school transportation, according to supporters, who point to a similar arrangement that’s been successful in terms of improving bus ridership in Natick.

Speaking at Town Meeting on Monday, supporters of the proposal also spoke about the environmental and safety benefits of getting more students onto school buses and more single-occupancy vehicles out of the school day traffic equation.

Skeptics, however, questioned whether they were signing up for an experiment or an annual solution, and opined that addressing school transportation issues should fall within the school budget.  

Even supporters of the measure acknowledged that lower bus fees alone won’t solve school transportation problems. Educational outreach and sidewalk/circulation improvements are also a part of the solution, they said.

So, with that in mind, we want to know, What do you think is the biggest deciding factor for families when it comes to school transportation? Take our poll or let us know in the comment section below.

Lesley Macdonald April 11, 2012 at 01:27 PM
The bus comes too early for my high schooler. Even with me driving her she barely makes it to school on time. She never would come home on the bus due to after school activities, so even with a subsidized fee, we would not opt for the bus
Kristin Pechinsky April 15, 2012 at 12:04 PM
From what I understand, the busses make it to the elementary schools by the second bell (and sometimes not even then). My son is young and enjoys his 15 minutes of "choice time" to start the day. For this reason, I would not consider the bus.
Larry Link April 17, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Leslie, are you and your daughter familiar with the HS Flex Pass? Piloted this year, it allows School Bus Pass holders to use Lexpress 4:30 or later runs, to accommodate after-school activities. Very flexible transport for students, saves parents gas, time, etc, and very good way to take some more SOVs off our busy Town roads at that time of day. We expect to do again this year with some minor adjustments. Please go to LPS or Lexpress websites for more info. --Larry Link, Member, TAC
Lesley Macdonald April 17, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Hi Larry, yes I am familar with this pass. My daughter frequently uses the Lexpress to come home as Concord Ave was added to the route this past summer. Unfortunately this does not solve my problem of getting my 16 year old out of the door in time for the bus in the morning. If I could do that then we would use the bus. She gets up early enough but is just never ready. Most days she is tardy to school inspite of my best effort.
Larry Link April 17, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Hmmm. TAC likes to think about pro-active solutions, but this sounds less like a trans-port issue than a com-port one... Pack the night before? Mom/Dad holds onto cell phone as carrot, until she walks out the door?? Alternative: I am the tough guy in our house, and my rule was "You miss the bus, you walk," which, painful as it is the first few times, behavior did change. We had one of those, too, and things did improve over time! Caution: your results may vary...

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