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Pali changes bus schedule

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Pali changes bus schedule

Max Gray, Staff Writer

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Pali’s bus program schedule changed effective Sept. 24 due to budgetary constraints and decreased bus ridership, explained a Schoology post by Dewey Dolphin; the changes included fewer bus stop locations, earlier pick-up times and later drop-off times.

However, on Oct. 1, bus schedules were changed again to adhere more closely to the pre-Sept. 24 schedule. One example is the Charnock Elementary School stop. The Sept. 24 changes moved pick-up times 25 minutes earlier than before, but on Oct. 1 the pick up time was just five minutes earlier than the original schedule.

Still more changes effective Oct. 15 made slight time adjustments to the 2:20 and 3:25 routes, but significantly altered morning routes by adding back stops at La Salle Elementary School and Coliseum Elementary School.

School officials said that “to prevent the 2018-19 budget deficit from being around $1,000,000, [Pali] needed to cut spending in a number of areas, and bus transportation is one of them.”

These spending cuts resulted in fewer empty seats per bus and total stops made. “Every vacant seat costs PCHS money,” a source familiar with the budget situation said, “so the more vacant seats we have the more need there is to reduce the number of buses we operate.”

Even with these cuts to bus transportation, Pali “is projected to be almost $500,000 over-budget,” the source added.

Riders said that changing the bus schedules caused them many hardships.

“The bus got more crowded and I have to wake up earlier,” said junior Maya Beeri-Feldman, who takes the Venice route. She said she is trying to find other transportation options.

Beeri-Feldman’s situation is not unique. Roughly 500 Pali students have been negatively affected by the recent changes to the program, according to a source who wished to remain anonymous. Among them is junior Azure Parker, who used to take the 3:25 p.m. bus to the 59th Street stop before it was eliminated in the Sept. 24 changes. Now, Parker is dropped off at the Windsor Hills stop, and has to find another way home.

However, Parker sympathizes with the challenge confronting school officials and said “it was a smart idea to pick stops that were close to each other.” Administrators felt that the changes were necessary, saying, “PCHS will spend over $600,000 of its own money to operate the bus program [this year].” To save money, “we had to reduce the number of vacant seats we had on all our 16 buses to a much smaller number of overall vacant seats on 10 buses,” the source explained.

This year, the bus program is also not as popular as previous years, with approximately 300 students dropping out of the program, school officials said.

Beeri-Feldman is satisfied with the Oct. 1 changes. “For me, [the pick-up time] went back to 6:55 a.m., which is fine,” she said. “It means I don’t have to look for another ride now.”

As for the future of the bus program, Pali stakeholders are examining options to ensure that students in need of transportation are better served next year.

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About the Writer
Max Gray, Staff Writer

Max Gray joined Tideline this year as a News writer. Though he originally wanted to write Opinion pieces, Max realized he was a better fit for News due...

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Pali changes bus schedule