Persistent tardiness is rampant in Boston Public Schools as a result of miscalculated bus routes, according to the Boston School Bus Drivers Union. According to a grievance filed against school bus provider First Student, Inc. by the union obtained by the Boston Globe, the drivers felt a new GPS computer software system installed failed to account for the heavy traffic in the city and generated routes that are poorly timed. This school year, one out of every 10 students arrives late, and even up to 37 percent of buses arrive more than an hour late. Boston Public Schools has over 32,000 students assigned to more than 600 busses.
Drivers warned that their routes were riddled with errors three weeks before classes began in August 2011.
“It wasn’t like we had mystical powers to forecast the future,” said Stevan Kirschbaum, a spokesman for the Boston School Bus Drivers Union to the Boston Globe. “You had routes that had zero minutes in between stops, and routes that were way overcrowded.”
“The routes…were systematically flawed, containing massive errors in both flat rates and safe on-time routing—insufficient times to safely and timely complete the work,” said the grievance. First Student, Inc. did not reply to members of the press as the matter is, “a legal issue.”
The school district fined First Student $800,000 for the late buses in the first half of the school year through December. Last November, the company intervened and made some improvements when they fixed some glitches in the fleet management system, which records the time it takes a bus to run its complete route.