Facing an overwhelming reduction of bus transportation come fall, the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and Long Beach Transit (LBT) are working together to make sure the transition of the thousands of students who previously depended upon school-based transportation to public transit will go as smoothly as possible.
Over the past decade, the district has significantly reduced busing, particularly from its peak 11 years ago, when they were busing some 20,000 (minus special education) students every school day. Those numbers dropped this past school year to 2,500 and will soon drop to 500 when school begins again in September.
Earler this year, students were already noticing a crunch and many took to social media to post photos of overcrowded morning Long Beach Transit buses. At the time, LBT spokespeople admitted that they had seen a ridership increase and were adding additional buses to accomodate.
“Our transportation director meets regularly with Long Beach Transit and provides [them] our previous bus stop counts and routes so that they are aware of potential increased ridership,” said Chris Eftychiou, spokesperson for LBUSD. “We also communicate early to the parents of students who are affected by transportation reductions so that families can make alternate arrangements, whether it be carpooling, walking, bicycling or public transportation.”
Over the past years, that partnership between the district and LBT has resulted in altered routes to schedule high demand near schools, including adding additional buses during peak hours on specific routes.
“Because we have to work within our resources to serve our entire community, we expect we will see some overcrowding, particularly after school lets out in the afternoon,” said Dana Pynn of LBT. “However, we will continue to monitor our service, and work with LBUSD to make additional adjustments where we can. In the meantime, we suggest for students to leave plenty of time to get to school and also consider alternative means for transportation wherever possible[.]”
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