Updated: District Officials Work To Improve New School Transportation System To Eliminate Roll-out Issues

Update: Friday, September 11, 2015 –

District officials continue to work through the roll-out of this year’s transportation program and try to make continuous improvements each day.  Today’s transportation program implementation appeared to be a significant improvement over Wednesday and Thursday.  Most of high school/middle school bus runs arrived before the start of school this morning, with three buses arriving at BMS/RHS only a two or three minutes after 7:30 am. At CLS this morning, most buses arrived by or before 8:45 am, with three buses arriving around 9:00 am.

On the trip home, all BMS/RHS buses arrived well before the 2:16 pm dismissal and had departed 2:25 pm, our normal departure schedule.  All buses arrived at CLS by 3:25 pm and were loaded and ready to go by a few minutes past 3:30 pm, again pretty much our normal schedule.  However, placing two BMS/RHS students on the correct buses at CLS resulted in all of the buses to leave around 5-8 minutes later than desired.  All CLS parents received an automated message that their children’s buses were running a few minutes late.

Suprintendent Joseph Phelan and Assistant Superintendent Thomas Burnell met with Allways East management today to address problems and collaborate on solutions to the current problems. They discussed and reviewed the transportation problems experienced over the past three days. District officials will be meeting with Allways East drivers this Monday, when Rhinebeck schools are not in session, to discuss and reinforce safety protocols, to review current routes for suggestions on improvements, and to run the routes in their buses for additional practice and refinement.  Allways East has made plans to outfit all buses with portable radios for communicating with their terminal.  Until these radios are provided, drivers who have to contact the terminal via cell phone have been directed to pull their bus to the side of the road to make such calls.  The new buses that the company plans to place on the road this Fall will be equipped with bus radios.  The District also plans to purchase a base station to be able to communicate directly with each bus driver.

The information that has been provided through parent calls and e-mails has been very helpful in enabling the District to address many of the questions and concerns that have been rasied these last three days. If parents have any specific questions about their child’s transportation, specifically about their bus route or schedule, now or in the future, please don’t hesitate to call:

Aldo Leon, Allways East Terminal Manager – (845) 204-9660

Sue McCormack, RCSD Transportation Clerk – (845) 871-5520 ext 5527

Tom Burnell, RCSD Assistant Superintendent for Support Services – (845) 871-5520 ext 5523

Also, continue to contact Superintendent Phelan regarding this matter, or any other, at (845) 871-5520 ext 5522 or at jphelan@rhinebeckcsd.org.  The District will continue to provide updates regarding efforts to improve District transportation services.

Thursday, September 9, 2015 – Superintendent Joseph Phelan expressed appreciation for the ongoing patience of parents and students as District officials continue to work through the unsatisfactory roll-out of this year’s transportation program and the related issues that are being experienced at the start of this school year. He apologized for the frustration and concern that parents and students have been experiencing about various transportation matters, including late pick-up and drop-off times. Officials have been responding to telephone calls and e-mails regarding a number of specific situations, mostly regarding pick and drop off times, routing, and some driver issues. They are making their best effort to address the concerns that have been raised, and officials have been working tirelessly to rectify the transportation issues that we know exist and that are unacceptable.

Discrepancies have arisen since the start of school this year between the reports received from Allways East, the District’s new transportation provider, about routing and timing based upon their travelling the routes in August, versus the challenges that District officials and parents been dealing with over the past two days. One aspect of the problem may be related to some drivers who are not familiar with the area or with their route. Parents are asked to continue to provide the District with feedback, and with your understanding, as implementation of the necessary adjustments to our transportation program has commenced.

Superintendent Phelan reported that most, though not all, buses departed on time or within a few minutes of their on-time departure time from our schools on Thrusday afternoon, September 10. Officials are aiming to improve that schedule further by having all buses depart BMS/RHS and CLS on time tomorrow (Friday) afternoon.  District officials also have started making in-house adjustments to some, though not all, of the routes, based upon parent and bus driver feedback thus far. They plan to review these changes with Allways East, then contact the parents whose children’s bus routes have been modified, before implementing any changes. They anticipate implementing some route changes by this Tuesday, September 15. Superintendent Phelan and Assistant Superintendent Thomas Burnell also are scehduled to meet with representatives of Allways East’s management team tomorrow (Friday) to review the problems we have been experiencing during the first days of school and to demand immediate solutions to these problems.

Again, if parents have any specific questions about their child’s transportation, specifically about their bus route or schedule, now or in the future, they are encouraged to contact:

Aldo Leon, Allways East Terminal Manager – (845) 204-9660

Sue McCormack, RCSD Transportation Clerk – (845) 871-5520 ext 5527

Tom Burnell, RCSD Assistant Superintendent for Support Services – (845) 871-5520 ext 5523

Parents are also encouraged to contact Superintendent Phelan regarding this matter, or any other, at (845) 871-5520 ext 5522 or atjphelan@rhinebeckcsd.org.  The District will continue to keep parents updated regarding transportation services.