Middle School student transit implementation plan
In the fall of 2014 BPS will expand the MBTA pass program and offer free bus, subway and commuter rail passes to 7th and 8th grade students who qualify for transportation. This expands the program already in place for high school students to 7th and 8th grade students and extends the previous Monday-Friday pass to a seven-day pass. It applies to transportation-eligible students in the Boston Public Schools, as well as charter, private and parochial school students in Boston. Students with disabilities who receive door-to-door yellow bus service as part of an IEP are not affected.
Already, more than 1,800 7th and 8th grade students in Boston ride the MBTA to and from school every day. These students are more likely to be present and on-time than students who walk to school or who ride a yellow bus.
Among 8th graders, BPS students who ride the MBTA are present 93.3 percent of the time. Those who ride yellow buses are present 91.2 percent of the time and those who walk are present 92.1 percent of the time. For 7th grade BPS students, those taking the MBTA are present 94.7 percent of the time. Seventh-grade students who ride the yellow bus riders are present 91.4 percent of the time and students who walk to school are present 92.3 percent of the time.
As we expand our successful T-Pass program beyond our high schools to serve our 7th and 8th grade students, our responsibility is to ensure safe and reliable transportation for all, however they get to and from school. BPS has established a multi-stakeholder working group to develop a Safe Transport Implementation Plan. School leaders, community members, safety experts, parents and students are joining together to learn from the best practices from the schools already using the MBTA -- and then leverage our community resources: such as the federal Safe Routes to Schools program, Operation Stopwatch, our own school safety personnel, Boston Police, the MBTA and others.
The multi-stakeholder working group is making sure that the Middle School student transit implementation plan covers all aspects of student safety and on-time performance across the City. Our objective is to ensure safe, on-time transportation for all students regardless of the mode of transportation.
Working group meetings were held May 1, May 15 and May 27. BPS hosted a community meeting on Monday, June 2 at 6pm at Madison Park Technical/Vocational High School, 75 Malcolm X Blvd., Roxbury. BPS provided an update to the Boston School Committee on June 4. For more information contact Carl Allen, BPS Director of Transportation.
In April and May, BPS has participated in community meetings hosted by the Boston Student Advisory Council and Operation Stopwatch, and has gathered feedback at Parent University. Additional community meetings are planned at school parent councils and hosted by the Boston NAACP.
This spring and summer BPS is conducting Pedestrian Safety Assessments at all middle and K-8 schools. Led by Safe Routes to Schools and Walk Boston, these walking assessments include the building principal and parents or community members and BPS support staff. The assessment walks the routes typically traveled by students at dismissal en route to the MBTA, identify areas in need of improvement or concern, and focus on where students tend to gather after school. Notes are being made with respect to traffic, lighting, crossing signals/guards, safety concerns, and general concerns/issues.
BPS is also coordinating Stop Watch observations. Led by MBTA Transit Officers and Street Workers, these observations are at MBTA hubs at PM dismissal. Notes are being made with respect to traffic, safety concerns, operational issues, and school representation. We plan to do weekly Stop Watch Observations to determine recommendations for staffing and potential yellow bus shuttles between T stations and schools.