City / Schools Shared Busing Update

Edit: I added a FAQ section below to address frequent questions:

Edit 2: Sure, thousands of readers get to see how poorly I write…

Note: Funding the Phase II Study will come up for a vote on February 21, 2018 at 7 PM at the Government Center. This topic will not be a public hearing so you should contact your council members ahead of the vote. The city’s share of the study would cost $27k. You can contact elected officials here:

Here is a brief update on the possibility of shared busing between Rochester Public Transit and Rochester Public Schools for Middle & High School students. Elementary School Students would continue to be bused by the School District.

From Noelle Anderson, KAAL:

From the Rochester Post Bulletin:

Here is a recap of the current transit expansion underway in Rochester.

The City and School District jointly funded a Phase I study. This study showed that shared busing is possible and would require the addition of 16 routes and 22 buses. A phase II study would determine the exact finances of the venture, specify the agreement between the schools and Public Transit and determine exact logistics. By acting now; some or all of the changes may be able to take place for the start of school Fall 2019. A “no” vote would like kill the changes for now. It will take 12 to 18 months to get the necessary number of buses.

Information on the Committee Discussion can be found here.

Here is a summary of how the new system might work. Of course the details could change.

Expanded routes would run 3 times a day, once to bring kids to school, once to move kids after school, and a third to get kids home from after school activities.


  1. Q: What about policies to protect the safety of kids? A: The district will continue to set the policies, the city already is trained to serve vulnerable adults and both the city and school use the same company for transit right now. Expect frequent communications and updates from the district in the year leading up to implementation.
  2. Q: What about Elementary School Kids. A: No changes.
  3. Q: What about kids that live outside of the city. A: The district will still provide busing, but at a later time.

Possible Advantages –

  • Proven model that works across the state, nation, and world.
  • Later start time (8:45 AM) for Middle & High School kids (linked to better performance & health).
  • Universal access to after school activities & amenities.
  • Universal access to transit for kids and district staff.
  • Possible taxpayer savings.
  • Use of Student ID as bus pass.
  • Ability to connect kids to city amenities after school.
  • Further expands city bus availability.
  • Train the next generation of transit riders as the city moves more towards transit.
  • Reduces congestion, pollution, and green house gas emissions.

Concerns –

  • Between the time of the study and implementation the School District will need to do some education for parents, kids, and staff.
  • Children ride with adults – Note this does not concern me; as we are talking about older kids and professional drivers in a recorded environment with a professional workforce. Further, other cities show us the concern is not realized.
  • Behavior of Children – District behavior policies would still apply and kids can lose riding privileges.
  • Later end time – Figure the ending time is going to be an hour or so later. After school activities may also be later.
  • Mark Hickey specifically stated a concern that we are “indoctrinating” children by having them ride transit. Yes he really said that; I am documenting it just for laughs… But remember we need 4 votes (5 if the mayor vetoes) and Mark Hickey is one of the 7.

The Phase I study passed the council by a 6-1 vote with Mark Hickey voting no. At the time he stated concern over conflict with hockey schedules.

At the committee meeting where this was discussed, 5 members were present. I spoke in favor, Nick Campion raised concerns, but appears to have had them answered. Annalissa Johnson and Mark Bilderback were present and raised no concerns. Ed Hruska and Randy Staver were not present but did vote in favor of the Phase I study.

  • Wojcik – YES
  • Hickey – NO
  • Hruska – contact
  • Campion – contact
  • Bilderback – contact
  • Johnson – contact
  • Staver – contact
  • Brede – No reason to think he would veto this, but never hurts to call…

My hope is that we can pass this 6-1 next Wednesday. You can help make that happen.

A special thank you to Julie Workman & Michael Munoz who have worked with me from the start on this venture.


  1. Thank you so much for all your efforts on this issue. To have kids with a better chance to succeed, as shown by the research, is worth all the time and money!

  2. Please note: this is a vote for the second part of a STUDY. This is not a vote for or against implementation of the proposal. Once the study is complete, there will likely be a joint meeting between the city council and the school board and an opportunity for input from the community.

    When my oldest son entered kindergarten I was hoping a later start time would be in place by the time he entered high school because even then I knew and understood the research supporting a later school start time for adolescents. He is now 34 years old. How many more generations will graduate before this is accomplished?

  3. This is a safety issue as far as I am concerned. You are putting 11 year olds on city buses by themselves. This is not safe, what happens to the kids that are coming home to empty homes? Who has potential of following them home? What about sex trafficking? How are these other cities handling that? The schools should be transporting students not the city.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. I am confident both that we can do this safely and that the School District will have significant parental interaction before this would start.

  4. So, will the bus drivers know who the level 3 sex offenders are? Will their pictures be on the buses? Will there be police on each bus? Have we even thought of this? What would prevent a predator from getting off at a student’s stop in the afternoon? This is opening a very slippery slope for both the city and the District.

  5. We need to provide everything that we possibly can for our kids to succeed. If a few hours shift Can do that for our youth who already have so many struggles to face I am 100% behind it.

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