Audit Says Reduce Number of Milford School Bus Stops

A transportation audit suggests reducing the number of bus stops in Milford and requiring more students to walk to school.

Fewer bus stops a good idea? Tell us in the comments. Credit: Patch
Fewer bus stops a good idea? Tell us in the comments. Credit: Patch
A transportation audit for Milford public schools recommends that the district reduce its number of bus stops, citing safety and operational efficiency reasons.

And the Milford Board of Education has asked school administration to implement this change, along with two others, according to James L. Richetelli Jr., chief operations officer for Milford public schools.

“We expect that the vast majority of students who are being transported by bus to school will continue to be transported,” Richetelli, the former mayor, wrote in a letter to parents dated Jan. 2 (click here to read in full).

“Those families whose transportation service may be changed will be notified in writing in the spring," he said, "so that there will be ample time to make necessary arrangements for the 2014-15 school year.”

Along with the recommendation to consolidate bus stops, the transportation audit also supported the creation of a voluntary “opt-out program” and steps to require more students to walk to school, as long as it’s safe to do so.

Reads the proposal on the latter: “If the traffic safety expert (the city employs) finds that no safety issue exists on the walking route, the stop and/or route may be eliminated and the students will be expected to walk to school.”

The district is required to bus elementary school students who live more than one mile from school; middle schoolers who live more than one-and-a-half miles away; and high schoolers who are more than two miles removed.

A PDF of this school year’s bus routes can be accessed here.

What do you think about the proposed changes? Could some bus stops be scrapped? Should they? Tell us in the comments.

School officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Tmc January 05, 2014 at 11:34 PM
This has been done already. (http://milford.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/first-the-ridiculous-redistricting-now-the-boe-wants-to-take-away-school-bus-stops-next-year) Sheesh don't you guys even read your own website?
Jason Bagley (Editor) January 05, 2014 at 11:39 PM
Hey Tmc, I did see that. Thought I'd flesh it out a little, you know, beyond a one-line question. Thanks for reading.
tlkensington January 06, 2014 at 07:30 AM
Better write up than the opinion piece. As I said before, this is a good idea. There are stops that can be consolidated. For some areas, consolidation won't be possible because it isn't safe enough.
Fake Name January 06, 2014 at 08:54 AM
The people who eliminated the neighborhood school had to conduct an audit to find out that because basically every kid has to be bussed there are too many bus stops and not enough kids walking to school (I wonder if the audit noted how many kids get bussed right by their old neighborhood school twice a day). Does this sound like a school system moving in the right direction? Does this story give you any confidence the leadership of the Milford schools can reverse the direction test scores are heading in? It's hard to tell who you should feel the sorriest for: The teachers struggling to help your kids while getting no tangible support, the taxpayers or the kids themselves...
tlkensington January 06, 2014 at 10:01 AM
So since they are drawing up bus stops for next year, does that mean they aren't changing back to k-5 next year? Probably make sense to figure out what type of school system we will have next year before we start making maps. Or was all that talk by the candidates bs and they have no intention of changing back?
Fiona Hackett January 06, 2014 at 10:16 AM
Would LOVE to have my kid walk to the school two blocks away instead of driving for half an hour twice a day!
Jason Bagley (Editor) January 06, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Some comments left on the Milford Patch Facebook page: Jennifer Guglielmi: "It's seriously out of control ! My sons bus is not even half full and another bus for Mathewson (same school) has a stop around the corner. Not even half full either" Kim Henderson-Gravel: "Stop bus the kids across town, put the schools back to the way they were k-5 keep kids at their neighborhood elementary schools" Christine Polizzi: "If all the people who got buses actually used the bus they wouldn't be so empty. School pick up is out of control"
JE January 06, 2014 at 12:10 PM
While I love the idea of having a school around the corner, I think keeping schools open that are only half full is just as bad as running half full busses. The way enrollment is going down it seems to me we need less schools so closing one a few years ago or closing one in a few years is no different. All the candidates I talked to said the configuration we have now will be changed but to be honest none of them told me it would happen this September.
A14MT January 06, 2014 at 02:10 PM
Walking would be good for kids to get them out of the "perfect world bubble" home bus school reverse all with cell phone and computer in hand. Will ive them a chance to witness nature and the real world. On another note the number of bus stops is crazy, the limit should be every half mile or so, get behind a bus and watch the number of stops that are so frequent like each coupld of drive ways is crazy, walk it a bit! Also when the bus driver waits for a kid to come out of the house, the kid should be at the stop at the right time.
Chris January 07, 2014 at 07:22 AM
Not only do they stop on every block on Gulf St, but they also stop in the middle of some blocks. Have kids walk a few blocks to one spot. On one hand some news sources say kids aren't getting enough exercise, on the other hand, we give them almost door to door service.
Maria January 07, 2014 at 02:13 PM
to Chris, exactly! I see buses stop at every corner to pick up a kid in front of their house.
Joannie January 07, 2014 at 02:21 PM
Gess, I had to walk 2 blocks to the bus stop!!!!
A14MT January 07, 2014 at 02:41 PM
Fiona, dont drive simple as that. My parents never drove me to school that was what the bus was for and our tax dollar paid for it. I am not an ancient person either...I am in my mid 40's. It is true that there are so many parents driving their kids to school! My neighbor drives their son to school each morning...the bus goes right by as does other neighbor and their daughter the traffic on my dead end street prior to school starting is crazy scuring kids to school......Maria, I take the train to work each day and going down side streets to get to the train is crazy if you get behind a bus, it could mean whether I miss my train or not depending if the bus driver has to wait for the child to come out of the house. All these entitled kids are way out of control, as well as their parents who tolerate/teach it. I dont mean to upset any readers but I think you guys understand :)
Fiona Hackett January 07, 2014 at 02:55 PM
@ A14MT, I don't drive, I meant the drive on the bus takes them half an hour, or the best part of it. I am all for the bus when it's necessary.
Concerned Parent January 07, 2014 at 06:50 PM
Some people really need to get their cheap and judgmental butts outside tomorrow morning. These are small kids and there are much better ways to cut corners to pay for all the additional spending next year.
Hal DePino January 07, 2014 at 08:26 PM
Where does the parent's responsibility come into play here? I think parents should be responsible to make sure their children get either safely to school (if the child is a walker) or safely to the bus stop (if the child qualifies for a bus). Small children or older, the parents have some responsibility here. Concerned Parent, all your posts demonstrate you simply have a major ax to grind with the school system.
LS January 08, 2014 at 09:47 AM
I agree that the number of stops on Gulf Street is ridiculous, however cars fly down that narrow street around blind curves. I see them blow past stopped busses all the time. And since one side has no sidewalks, kids are going to have to cross to get the bus. Something needs to be done to control the traffic on Gulf Street, or a kid is going to get hit by a car eventually.
JE January 08, 2014 at 10:03 AM
LS makes a good point. I believe there are state regulations that spell out hazardous conditions where a student must be bussed even if they live within the walking distance. These same regulations would prevent a child from walking along a hazardous route to get to a bus stop. This is probably why busses stop at every cross street along Gulf Street. Maybe Patch can do some investigative reporting on these regulations and why the stops are located where they are.
Gary Tobin January 08, 2014 at 05:03 PM
There is more to this issue than we can see or are being told. The busing regulations are controlled by our local education policies & procedures and state laws. They were in place last year and are in place today. There are many variables in routing buses, determining a bus stop and pickup locations and these were determined and was used last year and have been used this year. Driving your child to school is something not recommended and frowned on because of the traffic congestion at the schools. With that all said, did something happen or did something change that prompted the hiring of a private company to do a transportation audit and the hiring of a independent safety expert? I can't imagine all this work and the expenses of hiring these professionals are because the buses are stopping to frequent to pick up the kids. What is missing? Where is this issue leading to? What are we not being told?
Concerned Parent January 08, 2014 at 07:03 PM
@Hal...Perhaps you are correct, I am very critical of the school system, but for good reason. IMO, they have done a sub-standard job in the manner in which they have set policy and the curricula in our town. They've deferred the blame to others for their failures. I would hope that these educators realize that the trending performance in our town is there because of a reason. I have several children in the school system and have experienced these faults first hand. I've experienced great teachers and lackluster teachers, but the district administrators are worse. With Common core, they want to make students "suffer". That is a sadistic approach to education and only serves to again defer blame onto the student. Whether you wish to acknowledge or continue to make excuses for this ugly reality is your choice.
Chris January 09, 2014 at 07:28 AM
I agree parents should be responsible for their kids getting to the bus stop, esp on a busy street. IMHO, less stops or being drive to school. Traffic congestion around schools isn't uncommon and expected. At least you'd have a choice to choose another route.
Fake Name January 09, 2014 at 07:35 AM
As the BOE and parents of Milford give deep consideration to the number and location of bus stops, the quality of the children's education doesn't seem to merit any thought at all.
A14MT January 09, 2014 at 09:00 AM
Has it occured to anyone that perhaps the reduction in bus stops may be due to mechanical issues on the busses? If it were you vehicle making as many stops as the busses do, and your mechanic said you need new breaks you would think to yourself oh I am using the breaks more. Breaks, roaters more gas all adds up to extra added cost. Perhaps the bus company is pushing the cost on to the towns.
Concerned Parent January 09, 2014 at 09:01 AM
@Fake, I "COMPLETELY" agree. The focus of our school district is grossly displaced. As a parent, I cannot tell you how disappointed and shocked I've felt during the last 10 years with its decline. I've witnessed the town's focus on education sway from the student to the administrator. Our schools lack structure, their administrators are unapproachable, with policies which only serve to make their lives easier vs. the betterment of a student's educational experience.
A14MT January 09, 2014 at 09:09 AM
The answer is in the first paragraph of the article, "citing safety and operational efficiency reasons." Saftey and operational efficiency is key. Perhaps in my previous comment the brakes (pardon spelling error in previous comment) are costing more, which is an operational reason, perhaps number added stops is an increased saftey issue. Re-read the article I think our comments are bringing out added issues people have, my email is flooded with comments I am reading (not upset by it) though I said let me re-read article to adjust my statement.
Tmc January 09, 2014 at 09:02 PM
@A14; the buses are designed for stop and go duty. There are no "roaters" on the "breaks"; it's an airbrake system run by a compressor that push the brake shoe outward to the brake drum, causing the vehicle to slow or stop. The system is designed to endure many hard miles; it's why most commercial vehicles have them. The only thing that gets replaced with any frequency are the air hoses which rupture due to the cold and are cheap to buy.


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