The school buses parked at Staples High School that have annoyed neighbors with early morning noise and idling — and impacted parking in front of the building — may soon move.
Other buses may join them.
Their destination: the Greens Farms train station.
Superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice says, “We have worked collaboratively with the town. We expect by the beginning of next week to have most of the fleet stationed at Staples to be relocated to the Greens Farms train station. We are doing our best to get the entire fleet there. Concurrently, we continue to pursue permanent options.
Buses parked during the day at Staples High School. (Photo/Stefanie Lemcke)
“On a separate note, the last couple of weeks have shown demonstrably better arrival and departure times to and from school. The service continues to improve, and we are getting significantly more positive feedback from our school and our families.
“It is remarkable to continue to improve the level of performance in the face of some significant headwinds, such as pervasive traffic volume in town that is likely the new norm, a decentralized bus parking model at the schools at the current moment, and be continued struggle to fully staff our bus drivers.
“That said, given these challenges, we will never be perfect, and delays will occur from time to time. However, our focus is on the pattern of performance and ensuring we can deliver a consistent pattern over time high performance.
Several years ago, utility crews used the Greens Farms railroad station as a staging area. (Photo/Robert Cornfield)
“We have now had 2 separate bus companies recommend 45 minutes between our tiers. We have operated with 30 minutes between tiers for years. Given what we see as a new normal for volume and traffic in town, this may need to be revisited again at some point. I shared this observation with the Board of Education recently.
“Since the contract was approved, and we had approval to park at our schools, we have continued from that moment on to pursue a range of long-term options.
“We knew that changing transportation providers, which had been a community priority for many years, even with special committees at the town and Board of Finance level, we would have to persist in resolving the parking challenge.
“We currently operate in an interim plan with a long-term plan being pursued. We will go back to Planning & Zoning on an ‘as needed’ basis to bridge the time between now and establishing a permanent parking solution.
“I am most optimistic. We will do this, and we will continue to provide markedly better service to our schools and families, as evidenced by the performance over the last couple of weeks.
“I could not be more appreciative of the patience of our families and schools in the interim.”