Editorial: Lack of warning of bus scheduling changes leaves students in the lurch


Photo credit: Eloise Rollins-Fife

The bus chart, which sits on the outside veranda, directs students to their buses. It’s gotten more complicated for students to find their buses this year, as some stops have been unexpectedly switched or canceled.

For Archer students of all ages, the beginning of the year is a time of extracurricular exploration that often requires the use of the “late bus”, which leaves at 5:30 in the evening rather than the “early” 3:15 afternoon bus.

Girls from all over school participating in arts, sports or other after-school activities boarded these buses starting Monday — only to realize that for some of them, their stops had been unexpectedly cut from the schedule.

Archer uses the Tumbleweed Transportation service, and while it’s true that an email was sent out to parents including links to the new bus schedules, the lack of warning of the fairly drastic changes this year has left many families confused and students stranded. Some students have felt discouraged about participating in after school activities because their parents are unable to adjust to accommodate the new pick-up stops.

The transportation email sent to parents reads, “Dear Archer Families, Transportation information for the 2016-17 school year is available now,” with links following that correspond to the “Bus Routes & Schedules, Student Bus Route Information [and] Transportation Management Program Information.” Recipients are then advised to contact Janet Lyons with any questions.

Though this email technically divulges all necessary information, it falls short on truly assuring that all families understand the scheduling differences of the new school year.

As students who have attended Archer and taken the busses for years without sudden changes, many of us take for granted the idea that these schedules are unchanging. Many don’t bother to read through the transportation information that we assume will be the same as last year and the year before that.

Perhaps this is an issue of personal responsibility. The information was provided to us, and by not carefully combing through it, we left ourselves open to the possibility of unwelcome surprises.

However, we believe that in order to better prepare families for the impending schedule shifts that impact their day, it would have been beneficial to send out a clearer warning email and to include students on the recipient list.

In the future, we hope to see clearer communication between the transportation liaisons and the Archer community to minimize families’ stress and prevent future mishaps.

As for what can be done to fix the situation already created, we’d like to see another email sent out to both students and parents that clearly outlines all the changes made this year. Additionally, it would be great to see an ongoing discussion between Archer, Tumbleweed and the school community to assure that the needs of all families are being met and that transportation isn’t creating any unintentional barriers to the full Archer experience.