Wake County Schools

Wake schools staff looking at how to reduce long bus rides

Posted September 9, 2011 7:41 p.m. EDT

— Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata said Friday that his staff is looking for ways to reduce the amount of time some students have to spend on buses.

Earlier this week, the Board of Education discussed concerns about some students riding the bus for two hours or more each way.

School system transportation manager Bob Snidemiller told the board that the average bus-ride time for Wake County students is 16 minutes, but he acknowledged that there is a small percentage who currently ride for more than an hour and a half and a handful longer than two hours.

Snidemiller also said the earliest pickup time for some students is 5:40 a.m. He told the board that the bus system is always slower the first few weeks of school and assured them that time will improve.

Tata told reporters Friday that he and his staff are also talking about creative ways to put that time on buses to good use. Options include putting Wi-Fi on busses.

"How can we do something that innovates so that this time is not wasted?" Tata said.

Another option under consideration would be to switch all magnet schools to a central pickup location instead of sending those buses to neighborhoods, Tata said.