Thursday, September 6, 2012

Need for city/ district cooperation/ transportation

From the PG, letters to the editor:

"...there is something almost perverse about the city school district spending its sparse funds on private yellow buses rather that supporting the ailing public Port Authority, which plays such a critical role in Pittsburgh's quality of life. You'd think that city and county officials, who should have saving the Port Authority near the top of their agenda, might get involved in this act involving the city shooting itself in the foot."

Read more:


Mark Rauterkus said...

Likewise, it is a two way street.

You would think that the gov (sorta) agency (spending machines) would look out for PPS, the kids and the school schedules.

The week school was to begin in 2012-13 a mega transit cut was about to take place. Getting kids to school was in serious, serious doubt.

It would be WONDERFUL if most of the yellow buses were taken off the streets and we could use city, open, buses with school day schedules that were closer to the buildings, families, times. This would take real prior planning, route changes, technology deployment and such.

Aint going to happen with what we got now.

I'm dreaming of serious reform from many sectors to get to an ideal world.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Another down-side is the after school situation. With PAT bus passes in the kid's pockets, it is easier to get them to stay for extra activities that offer lots of valued learning experiences. These extras can help with academics as well as fitness, school spirit, and keeping kids out of trouble elsewhere. Now the kids who want to make the extra effort and stay longer have a little extra burden to pay if their yellow bus already departed. Participation in extra school events in the city is unlike the opportunities and devotion in suburban / WPIAL settings, mostly, IMHO. That is a key to success, sadly missing too frequently with too many students. I say bring back the PAT buses for the sake of QUALITY AFTER SCHOOL activities.

Anonymous said...

The bus pass situation has me concerned about the kids who take public transportation home after an evening sports event. If a kid gets home from a game at S. Fayette at 10:00 and has to take a bus home on their own dime, is playing a sport worth the trouble and safety risk? With cuts coming it would be great if a coach would now step up and design a plan to get kids home after away games, perhaps asking parents to work on a schedule.

Anonymous said...

In a similar vein, i always wondered why the district pays a private waste management company to handle the garbage pickups and not the citys own garbage trucks.

Anonymous said...

There was a major issue with students losing the bus passes-lost, stolen, "my mom borrowed it" etc. I'm not sure what the answer is- but kids seldom had them.
On the other hand, the individual bus tickets the coaches gave out for game day, or to get to intramurals for the next day seemed to work.
No we cant do a whole city that way. But the "bus pass" system didnt work. Sad but true.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The bus pass worked for those I know. But, I will agree it is a flop for what should and could be done.

There is an electronic pass system that works wonders in Hong Kong. It helps with getting on and off buses, is an aid in security, has ID features, etc.

Octopus cards should be in use with PAT and PPS.

It can even ping a parent when a kid gets on the bus, and off, and into and out of school.

Anonymous said...

Since many other cities manage to use public transit for busing, I'm sure we could look around for successful fixes.

Weekly passes might be more successful -- they could come up with something that required school IDs, for instance. Pitt students just use their IDs for bus passes. Chatham students used to (still?) buy a sticker that goes on their ID to make it a semester long bus pass.

Making it difficult to sell the passes would likely cut down on their loss!

And of course, there were always some routes that were yellow bus, as needed, because it was hard to find a route and there's no reason to stop that, either, though some of them could be much smaller vans rather than full size buses.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information 3:38
and I am glad to hear about coaches giving out tickets for PAT rides home, does that apply to practices or is there an activity bus for each day's practice and how does that work? The issue of what to do with a kid standing at a bus stop alone after the team bus takes players back to school is still outstanding. I have heard of buses diverting from the route after night games to drop kids off as close to home as possible, but is that possible for all and is it more costly to the district?

If parents don't get to their school's PSCC meetings to get answers, well, shame on them.

Anonymous said...

Minneapolis is doing it.

Anonymous said...

Gee, it almost seems like the Minneapolis article was written to overturn all the alleged drawbacks to using the equivalent of the Go-To card here. Increased attendance is one of the expectations using the Go-To card. By the end of the first quarter pps should be able to see the impact to attendance caused by yellow buses. Now this information can either be reported at a legislative meeting or they could spend time congratulating the designers on successfully going yellow and just let everyone believe the cost savings exists and was worth it.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing to celebrate with the new yellow bus contract. Has anyone looked at how ratty the buses transporting our students are? And we think it's ok to let the busses get even older and higher mileaged?

How long is it before we see an increase in embarrassing and potentially dangerous mechanical failures? Private carriers were already shifting their older vehicles from suburban to city service.

The carriers are laughing all the way to the bank. The savings on the school side is tiny compared to the reduced capital outlay of the bus company with two more years on the life cycle.

Didn't somebody run a pro forma analysis to figure out how much the carriers were saving?

Anonymous said...

The only thing I can recall are how the congratulatory comments flew at the legislative meeting. Can we hear from parents of yellow bus kids? All I have heard is how difficult it is for kids to get in through metal detectors when there are so many kids disembarking at the same time and how congested some residential streets are with yellow buses everywhere.

Anonymous said...


Should a community meeting be held about busing and transportation situations?

Feedback could be valued. It should be held soon, so changes or adjustments could be made before the year unfolds.

Sounds like something Pure Reform could organize in a Panera Conference Room in Oakland some time in a late September.

Questioner said...

Feedback should be valued!

Plse add a comment- would you expect to attend if a meeting was set up in an Oakland conference room- no names needed.

Anonymous said...


Just so you know! Anyone who is even mentioned in connection with Pure Reform is persona non grata at Central Office and throughout the district where adults are being put at risk of losing their jobs.

And huge numbers of CHILDREN are paying the consequences--life-threatening consequences.

And these are the children who can least afford to be further disadvantaged and demoralized!

Anonymous said...


You probably will not print one of the previous comments; but know that the content came straight from the superintendent.

Questioner said...

Pure Reform has always had a very cordial relationship with the superintendent!

Anonymous said...

That's terrific! Hold onto it!

Bram Reichbaum said...

It's not the City shooting itself in the foot, it's the County. The City is the foot.

But yeah, agreed with the letter-writer.