The Boston City Council is hosting a hearing this week to discuss the Boston Public Schools transportation system, which a group of three councilors says is "unreliable" and "in disarray."
Councilors Julia Mejia, Kendra Lara and Erin Murphy filed an order in June calling for a hearing "to address the unreliability of the Boston Public Schools transportation system." The transportation team, they said, has struggled with hiring and retaining bus drivers, leading to buses being late or not showing up at all to take students to school or to athletic events.
The Boston City Council's Committee on Government Accountability, Transparency and Accessibility will hold a hearing on the matter on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 5 p.m. at Boston City Hall. The public is invited to attend and testify.
"It is unacceptable that our students and parents are being burdened with unreliable transportation,” Mejia said in a statement this week. "We are not setting our students up for success when we neglect to provide them with the most fundamental tools for them to perform well in school. On top of that, the financial burden we are placing on parents struggling to ensure their children receive the education they deserve is intolerable.”
The Boston Public Schools transportation budget is over $100 million, which makes up about 10% of the district's spending. The councilors said costs have continued to rise even as enrollment hs declined.
“We owe it to our children to work collaboratively/efficiently to find a solution that addresses both the immediate needs of Boston Public School families to provide reliable transportation, as well as the systemic obstacles our schools are facing,” Lara said.
“The Boston Public Schools’ Transportation System is in disarray," Murphy said. "Families and students need more transparency and accountability."
She said last year alone, 2% of the 22,000 students bused daily by Boston Public Schools were not picked up, meaning they either arrived late or missed school.
"Boston Public Schools takes our commitment to getting every student to and from school safely and on time seriously," the district said in a statement to NBC10 Boston. "Our transportation system is complex and although the team has made operational improvements over the past years we know there is still a need for us to get better. BPS shares the frustrations families have and are urgently working to find sustainable, long-term solutions that work for every student while also working on a daily basis to address any immediate service issues. We look forward to our continued partnership with our many partners across the City and state, as we continuously work to improve our transportation system for our students."