To bus or not to bus, for many parents that is the question this time of year.
We asked North Jersey Patch readers this week on Facebook whether they would take advantage of busing provided by their districts this year or chose instead to drive kids to school themselves. What we learned was that for many, a school bus wasn’t even an option.
In Scotch Plains, Andria Kiel said that busing was eliminated for students this year. “It's going to result in more traffic creating unsafe conditions,” she wrote on the Scotch Plains Patch Facebook page. “Some students will be forced to walk because their parents work, which means they will be crossing busy streets without crossing guards.
“It’s a recipe for disaster,” she added.
Barbara Haley wrote on the Tri-Boro Patch Facebook page that her district hasn’t offered busing in 10 years. “We all carpool and it’s the best thing for working parents,” she said.
In other districts, subscription busing is an option, but often at a high cost.
Mendham-Chester Patch reader Tammy James shared that her high school district charged $500 to bus students annually. “For my 4 children that equals $10,000+ for busing,” she wrote.
“My daughter goes to DePaul (Catholic High School) and the bus is $2,000 with the nearest bus stop a mile from home,” wrote Thia Matsakis on the Triboro Patch page.
Many parents said they chose drove and cited concerns about safety or the amount of time kids spent riding on the bus.
“My 3 year old qualifies for transportation,” wrote Maureen Machado on the Long Valley Facebook page. “School starts at 8:20 and the bus would pick her up at 7:30. I feel that this is too long for a 3 year old to be on a bus, so I will be driving her.”
Julie Gause wrote on the Mendham-Chester page that her reason for driving was simple: “They can get an extra half hour of sleep.”
Other parents worried about bullying on the bus, like Montville Patch reader Sohini Ganguli who wrote, “The children on the bus are out of control. With no adult supervision they think they can do whatever they want (bullying, etc.).”
And some parents consider the drive to school an important part of the day. “I drive them to school,” wrote Hopatcong-Sparta Patch reader Dana Gianfrancesco. “(It’s) time to spend just chatting before their day starts and gets crazy.”
How will your children get to school this year?