For the past three years we’ve been able to track transportation data related to how bus routes change and how frequently we make route changes.
It’s a good tool for friendly competitions among staff.
More important, it helps us understand why the letters we send home are inaccurate by the first week of school.
For the three years in question, we have made more than 2000 changes to our database between open house and the first day of school. The actual average is 2,234 changes. Though some of those changes are not related to factors that affect time, many of them do affect schedules.
Without doubt, those routes that change by ten or fifteen minutes change because we allow 2,234 people to make changes to routes. We should not have to make those changes in the week before the start of school. We send home letters in the spring, again in August, and again at Open House. We ask simply that parents make the changes earlier rather than later.
This year, we are trying something new. We are suspending registration on August 27, one week after letters are mailed to families. We will make all requested changes by close of business on August 27, giving us sufficient time to print and sort new bus schedules to hand out at Open Houses. You will be welcome to contact us about changes, but we will not be making those changes until the week of September 10.
Our hope is by suspending registration on August 27, we will have accurate bus schedule information in parents’ and students’ hands at Open House. Our second goal is to have accurate bus routes in the hands of our bus drivers one week prior to the start of school so they have time to practice.
Keep in mind that our bus schedule letters are something more like an educated and studied theory of what we expect will happen the first week of school. If we didn’t have human variables involved in the process, those theories would be pretty accurate. It’s difficult for a computer program, or even live, experienced routing staff, to predict certain things about bus routes. For example, which stops will be fast to load and which ones will be slower? Where will we encounter heavier traffic? Where will nature delay us? How will the little portions of construction affect routes? Which drivers will function more efficiently with students on the bus? Those bus schedule letters are not a guarantee or plan for the entire school year. After the first week of school, the buses will have settled into their regular routine accounting for all those questions I just listed. Once the bus has settled into that new routine, you should expect the bus to come at that time for most of the school year. We do not send new letters containing that information. However, we invite you to call if you have a time question.