BPS bus system sparks confusion

While Boston Public Schools (BPS) has been fixing problems with late-school buses, the bus system can still be confusing. One Jamaica Plain mother recently encountered a giant headache with a combination of public and private buses and slow-moving paperwork when she attempted to find transportation for her son.

Michelle Otterson, who has a son attending the Kennedy Elementary School and a daughter at the Hennigan Elementary School, found a job three weeks ago after being out of work for a while. She filled out what she thought was the proper paperwork to have her 7-year-old son bused between Hennigan and Kennedy. The bus would take him from daycare in the morning to school and then back in the afternoon.

But on her first day at work, she called to make sure her son’s transportation was in order and was told that it was not.

“It was my first day at work,” said Otterson. “I was freaking out. I didn’t know what was happening to my son.”

It turns out that the bus in the morning was not affiliated with BPS. She has to pay separately for that service. Meanwhile, the paperwork she filled out for the afternoon bus, which is run by BPS’s contracted First Student, would take one to two weeks to process.

“It’s been frustrating dealing with them in general,” Otterson said about BPS and the bus company. “I couldn’t get in touch with anyone who knew anything.”

Her son managed to safely get to the daycare that afternoon and for the rest of the week, but Otterson said the whole process has been confusing.

BPS spokesperson Matt Wilder said Otterson was told by the Kennedy School secretary that the paperwork for the afternoon bus would take a week to two weeks to process. Otterson responded she was “absolutely not” told that.



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