BPS bus-arrival time improving

March 2, 2012
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School buses in Jamaica Plain are running more punctually than earlier in the school year when they were arriving as late as an hour.

“They fixed it three or four weeks ago,” said JP parent Marc Lipsitch, a parent of two children at the Hernandez School, whose bus was running 30 minutes late in the fall. “The buses are on time. It’s perfect. I’m really glad. It took a lot of time calling and complaining.”

Boston Public School (BPS) spokesperson Matt Wilder said that buses are currently hovering around the 91 percent mark with arriving on time. He noted that is compared to around 70 percent at the beginning of the school year.

“We’ve done a lot of hard work with the bus company and bus union,” said Wilder, speaking of First Student Inc., the private company that BPS contracts for bus services. “We are definitely pleased with the progress we have made.”

Wilder commented that the buses that are now late are generally within one to five minutes because of traffic.

This comes after BPS was forced to place its own staff at First Student’s four bus yards. The staff found that some drivers were arriving late and that the company was not following protocol requiring it to replace the late drivers, Wilder said.

“It’s unfortunate that we had to put are own staff there,” said Wilder.

BPS assessed First Student $800,000 in penalties, which is being reviewed by the company.

Wilder also acknowledged that there were improvements that needed to be made to the bus-routing system.

Whatever the problems, Lipsitch said, they should have been solved quicker.

“It should have been fixed in the first week,” he said. “It’s understandable that there might have been problems, but it shouldn’t have taken so long to been fixed.”

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