RTS kicks off first day of transportation for RCSD students
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The school year was off to a rocky start in the Rochester City School District. Amid growing concern and frustration from families of RCSD students regarding the transportation issue, RTS stepping in to lend a helping hand.
Today was the first day that RTS provided transportation to five Rochester City schools.
While transportation plans have ultimately been enacted for most students, Andrea Bryant, who has a first-grade granddaughter at School No. 39, says communication has been poorly handled.
“We just expect more of a group of professional people, people that have been elected to say they care about the concern of children in the city school districts and these are the results. You can only go by the results that you see,” Bryant said.
Bryant, who is now retired and lives nearby her daughter and granddaughter, says she is lucky to be able to help. Bryant’s daughter received a letter on September 6 from the district stating that due to the lack of drivers, her granddaughter would no longer have a school bus for transportation. Bryant says more communication needs to be done for the sake of the children and their future.
‘What is so huge is the communication and the timing of it. You just can’t make assumptions that people are going to know. We have busy lives, we may not be able to see a news report or a Facebook post. Yes, parents should be responsible, but it’s about working hand-in-hand. Communication is key to be able to do that,” Bryan said. “Poor communication, poor results,” she added.
In an attempt to mitigate the transportation crisis, the superintendent called on an emergency meeting last week and looked to RTS for one of the answers.
“It went off without a hitch. There’s always going to be an instance or two of a student getting on the wrong, bus that’s something that’ll correct itself obviously as the days go on,” said Tom Brede, public information officer for RTS.
According to Brede, RTS has collaborated with RCSD in the past, but this school year was different.
“Obviously prior to the crisis popping up, conversations happened that really led to us being the best suited to step in and help make sure kids get back into the classroom which I think everyone agrees is very important,” Brede said.
RTS busses were seen around the city picking up students in lieu of what would normally be the traditional yellow school bus and dropping them off at school. It is a change RTS says was sudden, altering seven of their high-frequency routes, but something they were ready for to help the school district.
“It is typically an eight to 10-month process to go through when we make changes to the schedule. In order for us to serve these additional schools, we had to reduce the frequency on those seven routes from 15 to 30 minutes to be able to tap into those resources, such as bus operators and busses,” Brede said. “Fortunately we were able to accelerate that and it was all hands on deck last week getting ready to go so we could get kids back into school today.”
Officials from RCSD say over the weekend their transportation team visited the homes of students who will now be transported to school via RTS.
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