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Improvements to Keep Buses Running Safely and on Time

Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

With the new school year about to begin, Prince William County Schools (PWCS) is making some transportation changes to keep buses running safely and on schedule. The action is a response to parent concerns caused by unpredictable late pick-ups or drop-offs.

Key changes include:

• Using fewer buses (and hard-to-recruit drivers) to meet student needs, by planning for some buses to make short, back-to-back runs;
• Reducing the number of individual bus stops, limiting the need for tricky and potentially dangerous turn-arounds in cul-de-sacs and small roadways; and
• Using smaller buses often associated with special programs to also (though separately) transport general education students.

A student assigned to a multiple-run bus might have to arrive at the stop 10-15 minutes earlier in the morning, or wait a bit longer before boarding in the afternoon. The payoff is that parents, students, and schools alike will be better able to plan their schedules. Using fewer buses and drivers will significantly cut down on problems caused by unplanned driver absences and even equipment breakdowns—back-up buses will now be more readily available, when needed.

The benefit of safely eliminating extra, unneeded stops is easy to see, and so is the payback from maximizing the use of every vehicle in the PWCS fleet. We will just need to remind students that all kinds of buses are used to transport all kinds of students.

Student bus schedules will be emailed shortly, and the Transportation Office is already working with schools to address any challenges stemming from the new plans. Please be patient as we encounter some normal first week “bumps in the road.”

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