CBS42 conducted an interview with Walter Turner, the owner of STS Transportation, about what STS might be able to offer to Hoover’s families who need buses to get their children to and from school: Bus Clubs.
Bus Clubs basically create their own bus system for students in the club. Bus clubs require somebody to step up and organize the club.
Possible somebodies given by Superintendent Andy Craig at the October 21 BOE meeting include neighborhood associations and parent organizations. Apartment complexes may be able to organize their own clubs as well.
While typically a flat rate is charged to other STS customers, Turner said Hoover families would be given an option to have rates determined individually for each bus.
Those rates would be based on how many riders are on the bus and how many stops there are along the route. Hoover City School buses currently stop 1700 times in the morning and 1700 times in the evening.
No cost projections have been shared. As such, parents have no idea what this might cost nor whether they can afford to pay for buses. No waivers or reduced fees for children receiving free or reduced lunch prices were mentioned.
This is similar to the way that some area private schools operate buses for their students. Rather than drive through neighborhoods to pick up children, private schools organize a place for parents to drop off their children in the morning and then return to that place to pick their children up in the afternoon.
Rates for a few of the private schools who offer buses around the Birmingham area are:
John Carroll Catholic High School – $135/month per student. They have two routes, with three pick-up/drop-off points on each route. STS Transportation runs these routes.
Briarwood Christian School – $50/month per student for a shuttle to transport children from one campus to the other. Briarwood has two campuses: K-6 and 7-12. Parents can drop all of their children off at one campus and have children shuttled to the other campus if necessary. It is unclear if buses are owned and operated by the school or by a third party.
Indian Springs School – $150/month per student. No bus route information was listed. It is unclear if buses are owned and operated by the school or by a third party.
Again, these schools require parents to drop off their children at a certain location for the children to be transported to and from school.
It’s time to start talking with families in your neighborhoods, churches, and apartment complexes about whether you can get a Bus Club organized. While we don’t yet know what it will cost, you may be able to determine pretty quickly if your area can collaborate well enough to start a Bus Club.