School Busing As a Private Enterprise

Posted in Just A Thought at 9:05 am

I recently switched my child to the local middle school at the sleepy town I live in and immediately developed an appreciation for why the town had spent so much for traffic studies. At the start and end of the school day the town center is paralyzed with traffic. Almost everyone in town has to get their kids to town themselves since the town is barely bigger than the distance public buses are mandated.

Some parents carpool but the inclination of teenagers to sleep in and the variety of after school activities often makes this difficult. My son was anxious after 4 days of driving to bike the 2 miles to school himself. (A great solution if the parents driving their kids to school don’t hit him.)

Maybe new technology (Twitter/internet/GPS), private jitney buses and enterprising parents can help. If the town/school can establish bus routes along a few main roads, vetted drivers can pick up students waiting at designated stops for a dollar or two. Drivers can Twitter their planned start times for a route so riders can plan their arrivals. With a little more work, riders can twitter their need for a driver.

Will Jitney (small bus) drivers participate?
I’m talking with companies to be sure, but buses drive people over the George Washington bridge for $1.25-$1.35. If there is enough interest they’ll be able to make money here.

How would parent’s participate?
Research is needed on legal pitfalls, but the HSA could run this as a fund raiser. Volunteer drivers would get photograph certificates and a car decal after proving they have a licensed, insured car and a clean driving record. The HSA could sell tickets. Half of the proceeds could be used to buy gift cards that drivers could buy with the tickets they collect. Again, participating drivers would Twitter before the start of their runs allowing riders to plan their rides.

Who could ride?
Encourgaing the whole community to use the rides all day – particularly to the center of town, senior center, library and community centers. At least initially it probably shouldn’t be directed at elementary children.

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