August 2019 Bus Routes Update
To DPS parents and guardians of bus riders:
We hope you are having a great school year—especially those of you who have just returned to school on the traditional calendar.
This year, we have made some adjustments to bus routes. We do this every year, but we are especially committed this year to improving efficiency—running fewer buses into the same neighborhood, running fewer buses with empty seats, consuming less fuel, and relieving some congestion and pollution. We’re doing this in support of the Durham Public Schools 2018-2023 Strategic Plan and its Goal 5E to reach a state transportation efficiency rating of 95.8 percent.
We realize that we should have communicated about some of these changes better. While most families are not greatly affected, a few of you are, and earlier notice would have helped you make better preparations.
Every year, however, we adjust our bus routes based on actual ridership. This effort will especially ramp up after the Labor Day weekend. If we find opportunities to shorten bus rides, we will take them, especially where we have consolidated routes.
There are some factors contributing to the length of bus rides that cannot be addressed easily. For example, northern Durham County is much less dense. Neighborhoods and schools are far apart and some routes serving schools such as Mangum Elementary and Lucas Middle stretch up to the Person County line. Magnet schools also frequently have longer bus rides, especially when they draw students from the whole county.
Finally, by state law school districts are required to provide school bus transportation for students who live one and a half miles or more from the school to which they’re assigned. (Many school districts call this the “walk zone.”) Historically, Durham Public Schools has provided bus transportation to all families that have requested service, even those close to their assigned schools. While we do not plan any changes in this practice during the 2019-20 school year, we will be reviewing this practice to see if it significantly lengthens the amount of time students in general ride the bus.
We appreciate your patience as we work to improve every student’s, and every family’s, experience on our buses. We reiterate our commitment to your child’s safety. And we appreciate your choice of Durham Public Schools.
Julius M. Monk
Chief Operating Officer