One of the more complicated jobs handled by officials from Anne Arundel County Public Schools is determining the routes and schedules of buses that transport students each day.
County officials work to ensure bus stops are located in places that are both convenient and safe, while also seeking the most efficient way to pick up and drop off the tens of thousands of students that ride the buses each day.
Patch spoke with county schools spokesman Bob Mosier, who answered a few questions about the bus system.
Patch: How many bus stops are there in the county?
Robert Mosier: There are 24,720 bus stops in Anne Arundel County.
Patch: How many buses are in operation on a typical school day?
Mosier: We have approximately 528 school buses running in Anne Arundel County on a typical day.
Patch: How many drivers does the county employ?
Mosier: We have 83 county drivers and 697 contract drivers (including sub drivers).
Patch: How many bus companies does the county have a contract with?
Mosier: We currently have 20 contract vendors.
Patch: What is the average number of students on a bus?
Mosier: On any given day the ride count can fluctuate based on before- and after-school activities. Parents also bring their students to school and pick them up early from school when needed. Our ideal target numbers for loads are:
- Elementary —60 to 65 passengers.
- Middle—52 to 55 passengers.
- High Schools—44 to 48 passengers.
Patch: Who works on establishing bus routes and bus stops?
Mosier: The seven Area Specialists in the Transportation Division route school buses and establish bus stops for those routes. Each of the schools in a high school attendance area are tiered by starting and ending times that will allow individual buses to serve at least three schools, and in some cases five schools. We are currently not using any software programs to assist us in this process.
Patch: What are some of the densest areas in the county in terms of number of bus stops and number of students transported?
Mosier: Areas where the population is most dense are the same areas where student population is the most dense. This requires more bus stops.
Patch: What is the process for requesting a change to a bus stop?
Mosier: Parents can contact the Transportation Office with a request for a stop change during the school year. Those requests are forwarded to the appropriate Area Specialist, who reviews that request based on the current route and stop locations in the area of the request.
Patch: How frequently are bus routes and bus stops changed during the school year?
Mosier: Bus stops frequently change more in areas where there are new developments and student population growth. Area Specialists do their best to place school bus stops strategically within established communities that will serve the community over long periods of time, thus reducing the need for continually changing bus stops.