BOE Eliminates Unauthorized School Bus House Stops as Solution to Lengthy Routes

Lakewood School Bus Drivers will no longer be allowed to make unauthorized house stops, Board of Education officials announced. After receiving complaints about extra lengthy route times,Transportation Committee officials looked into the matter and came to the conclusion that unauthorized house stops was a large contributing component.

Going forward, regardless if the bus driver agress, or if the bus is passing the home anyways, unauthorized stops will be eliminated, as recommended by the Transporation Department.

“Unfortunately, we can not grant house stops because it lengthens the route times significantly”, said Transportation Committee Chairman Joel Schwartz. “Additionally, unauthorized house stops create other issues such as not being covered by insurance for an incident occurring at an unauthorized stop.”

Bus contractors who don’t comply will be held accountable by the Transportation Department, Schwartz said. TLS.

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64 COMMENTS

  1. Well i think they need to see WHY the bus drivers were asked to make these stops. Some students have to walk THREE BLOCKS in the COLD to get to their bus stop. This needs some looking into to see if modifications can be made to some current stops.

  2. It’s interesting that yesterday’s featured article was about GPS tracking and today’s about house stops.

    One of the intended benefits of GPS is to look at historical driving patterns to enhance safety. However to the best of my knowledge this is not the kind of GPS required on Lakewood buses!! Rather all they have to do is have the ability to recover a vehicle in real time in case of emergency. No driving history is being recorded…

    It may be a good idea for the BOE to consult with experts in the field on what GPS systems are available. The will to improve transportation is definitely here – keep up the good work!

  3. It’s about time! I drive up Park Avenue every morning, and you can have the bus stopping at every three houses. It is ridiculous. I grew up in Brooklyn and people walked three blocks to their bus stop. Here they can’t even manage to walk three houses.

  4. Something wrong with this. Every other school district in the nation drivers are given full autonomy for the safety of their charges. The safest place to drop a child off a bus is at the home- especially if the bus is the immediate vicinity. Perhaps busses should not stop at RR crossings or stop signs or red lights. That would save significant time.

    No. This is manipulation (moderated) to the extreme. Fault the parents of some of the students and pit them against each other. How much time will be saved anyways? How long is an additional even 10 unscheduled stops along the route? 5 minutes? 6?

    No. This is a sneaky way to avoid shouldering responsibility for forcing school to generate much too long bus routes. Their should be a limit of miles each but route is allowed to be and that limit should be indexed according to the proximity if high traffic areas. This is what is and who is to blame.

    Kids should be let off a bus at the home ideally- especially if the bus is in immediate proximity.

  5. Yup. And then when these kids walk to the bus stops, or when they walk home in the dark, they will be subjected to the whims of the crazy Lakewood drivers. Have we already forgotten the crazy accident that happened in front of Chateau Park?

    Do we want our kids walking the dangerous streets of Lakewood – at night when they come home from school?

  6. when i was younger, i walked a block and a half to my bus stop. every morning, rain, sleet, snow, every year until i graduated from high school. and 2 other neighbnors that went to the same schools as i did also walked to the same corner a block and a half away. sometimes in the snow or rain their mother would drive them there but c’mon, house stops every few houses is rediculous. i bundled up with probably the heaviest warmest coats around and that was that.

  7. Where I come from there is no busing for school children. I walked to and from school my whole life and it was at most times b/w a 15-25 minute walk. I got exercise, fresh air and made great friends with my walking partners-very often different age groups oh and by the way where I come from, it’s a lot colder than here! I’m not sure who’s complaining here if it’s the children or parents but nothing will happen if the bus doesn’t come directly to everyone’s house!

  8. If the schools would consolidate bus trips they would be able to stop at houses. This would save thousands of dollars. The problem is the schools all demand their own busses and this causes more buses and cost over all.
    The schools would never allow their students to be on the same bus with students from another school!!! Know the issues!!!!!
    This was an issue raised last year. Like Rav Shteiman said last year on a clip that went viral last year, Gaiva, Gaiva, Gaiva!!!!!!

  9. This will not get posted but I will write it anyway. Why can’t the kids walk 3 or 4 blocks. Have you ever seen the school on (moderated). The kids walk from that school and cross over Rt. 70 to go to Exxon. See it every day. Teach your kids safety walk on the grass if no sidewalk. Watch for cars don’t assume the car sees you.

  10. The problem is the schools all demand their own busses and this causes more buses and cost over all.
    The schools would never allow their students to be on the same bus with students from another school!!! Know the issues!!!!!
    OK this is where the State shopuld step in an say if you DO NOT make changes to stop the madness with busing the cost will not be covered and it will be all on you (the schools that wont cooperate)

  11. Wish my kids would need to walk 3 blocks! They need to walk more than double that amount of blocks every day hot or cold because we don’t get bussing at all

  12. Currently, “remote transportation” is two and a half miles for high school students and two miles for all other students. The state commissioned Deloitte & Touche to write a comprehensive report on student transportation. They found that 36% of districts have policies that are different than state policy, like Lakewood, by providing courtesy busing. The average proportion of less-than-remote pupils transported was 30%. Our own Mr. Kakavas, before coming to Lakewood, testified before the legislature in 1996 recommending for “kindergarten, all bused; [grade] first to six, half mile; and seven through twelve, one mile.” Making a child walk to a bus stop is not an undue burden.

    I do not speak for the administration, but we have gone beyond the call of duty over the last decade when it comes to busing.

  13. To ‘Its about time’
    I grew up in Brooklyn too. The streets of a Lakewood (and NJ as a whole) are not as restrictive as Brooklyn’s streets (i.e. speed limits are lower, sidewalks exist, crosswalks & lights are more available). I would prefer a longer commute time than having a 5/6 year old walk/wait at a dangerous street corner! I’m sure you would too.
    I understand your point. I agree in many situations bus stops must be consolidated. But please bear in mind there are extenuating circumstances…

  14. I’m in the camp of the folks who say that the kids won’t die if they have to walk a couple of blocks to their bus stop. I drive one of my kids to school every day because we’re too close for a bus. I don’t mind a bit. What I do mind is that I have to stop every twenty feet coming and going because a) the bus stops at every corner b) the bus makes a special stop and c) their are multiple buses plying the same route at the same time, each making its own different set of stops on the same street.

    Three other wonderful problems besides the stops 1) bus traffic jams: so many buses on the same narrow street at the same time, they get totally jammed up; 2) Mothers who have to have a 5 minute chat with the driver; 3) Kids running late for the bus.

    To those who are raising the awful specter of children dying because they have to walk a couple of blocks, I say: why not have the drivers stop at every single house and carry the child in his arms from their bed to the bus? I mean, a child could fall down the stairs or slip on a banana peel or they could get run over by a mini van pulling out backwards from a driveway. You can’t protect every child from every imaginable danger and still have a functioning society. What I think is really at stake is that parents don’t want to have to walk a child a block or two (or even THREE!!!!!) to a bus stop.

  15. What if the bus stops in front of a house that it is passing anyway, where it is safer instead of at a corner, where the kids need to cross a street to get to bus stop? That doesn’t waste more time the driver has to stop for same amount of time either way! And it may be shorter because driver doesn’t have to wait for kids running across the street to the stop to catch the bus!

  16. The problem is if driver stops at corner AND at house or at every other house but if 4 kids who live a few houses apart agree to get off in front of one house (provided it is safe) and the bus doesn’t have to stop at corner at all, then what’s wrong with that?

  17. I agree with #18 – sometimes by stopping in front of a house – the route actually will take shorter. There perhaps should be official permission needed – in my case my house is 1 off the corner – the bus driver passes there anyways… and it’s less dangerous than at the intersection with all the turning cars not seeing the red flashing lights….

  18. The issue that in Brooklyn you walked two blocks to the bus stop is not in line over here in Lakewood. Brooklyn is city living everyone walks there and pedestrians as well as drivers are more cautious each looking out for the other where as in Lakewood which is a suburb the children are not used to walking so they may not look out for cars as well and the same thing for drivers not expecting many or any pedestrians!

  19. i just want one of these boa guys to drive a bus for few days and to see what it feels like for a child to walk to the corner every day . rain , snow , cold weather. some of these kids have to walk 3 blocks and wait in a freezing cold . how about 5-6 year old kids who come now when its dark and have to walk home. its very easy just to make a rule . what about the kids ??

  20. To the people complaining about a 5&6 yr old having to either cross a street or walk alone to a bus stop
    . I ask you.. where is the parent?????? How do you allow your 5&6 yr old go out alone. I always drove or walked to my children’s bus stop and so did every other parent whose child was at the same stop. If that’s an inconvenience to you then drive them to school yourself. It is extremely selfish to demand the BOE and the rest of Lakewood’s taxpayers to custom tailor the bus route to suit your needs because otherwise its inconvenient to you personally.

  21. please explain why they cant stop if they are passing the house anyways. whats the difference if they stop at the corner which is a 4 minute walk for a 5 year old kid by himself, or if its in front of the house which they pass by anyways. is it just because they like to see little 5 year old children walking by themselves in the freezing cold and waiting for 20 minutes for the bus to come on the corner very close to speeding traffic?

  22. I am the only stop in my 5 block radius and they need to pass my house anyway. It’s a matter of stopping at the corner or at my house. No time wasted….so no one should dare try changing anything on me!!

  23. Mr. Bus is right on the money. We live in a society where people feel entitled to programs and expect to be served. If programs are cut they kick and scream. It’s time to grow up and take responsibility. Not everybody is here to serve you…

  24. Quote “I ask you.. where is the parent?????? How do you allow your 5&6 yr old go out alone. I always drove or walked to my children’s bus stop and so did every other parent whose child was at the same stop. If that’s an inconvenience to you then drive them to school yourself”
    You must be reading my mind , what parent would allow a 5 year old to walk with no parent with them to a bus stop, in fact that to me crosses the line of negect and I would go so far as to say if I personally saw that would report it to authorities .

  25. I am a big believer in cutting costs as much as possible. However, we are talking about child safety here.

    Yes, when we were younger we all walked to the bus stops. We evn walked to school! Then, when we got a little older, we biked to school!

    However, Lakewood is different. Lakewood drivers drive as if there are no other cars on the road, kal vachomer they don’t see the pedestrians, and especially small children, at the street corners.

    Imagine all these kids walking home from the bus stop when its dark, trying to cross a street, when these crazy drivers swerve around the corner, don’t stop at the stop signs, and will crash into anyoone and everyone who stands in their way.

    This is Lakewood today. It is very different than when we were growing up.

    I understand that many people are living in denial, and have no problem with little kids walking the streets of Lakewood after dark. One commenter even spouts his academia nonsense, without the benefit of real world common sense. But most of us see the reality.

    Two small children were run over in front of Chateau Park last week, IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, WITH THEIR MOTHER BESIDE THEM.

    Yet, you think its ok for eight year olds to walk home from the bus stop in the winter after dark, crossing streets all alone, braving the dangerous drivers of Lakewood.

    We need a new bumper sticker: “PRAY FOR ME – I AM EIGHT YEARS OLD AND WALK HOME FROM THE BUS STOP IN LAKEWOOD”

  26. Official Bus Stops are assigned throughout the state. You don’t hear of children being run over, freezing to death or being snatched up by strangers on any given day. Stops are assigned by the BOE according to the safety of the stop. How the student gets to and from the stop is the parents responsibility. I am sure that the buses pass everyone’s house in town at some point of the route, so they should stop? Liability falls on who when a student is injured at an unauthorized stop?

  27. So I shlep to the corner every morning with my four kids and wait for three different busses.
    what gets me upset is when i watch my neighbors somehow convince the bus driver to stop in front of their house (the bus stops three times on our short block: once on each corner and one house stop) and then doesnt send her kids out on time. So the bus pulls up, stops waits, honks, waits some more, honks again, then drives off very slowly to give them “one last chance”. Meanwhile the kids further along the route are waiting for this (unneccessary?) chessed.
    Although i must say that i appreciate when the driver drops off my children off in front of my house (but remember then he is not waiting to see if a kid is coming or not.

  28. To #23, Mr. Bus: Many parents have several children going to school at the same time. Which bus stop do they wait at? We’re talking small children here, not teenagers, who can walk a few blocks themselves. Plus take along the baby and the toddler to the bus stop. What is a parent to do? And how about mothers who don’t drive — like me?

  29. argue safety, argue if it’s smart to have your kids walk, argue if you should give your children vacccines, argue about two ppl that rm”l got injured wen walking with parents, argue all the thinks that don’t make a diffrence, cuz if you wanna protect your kids keep them at home so there is no chance of getting swime flu, getting into a car accident while in your car cuz some crazy driver hit you, or being injured in school by another friends baseball bat, or riding his bike or going swimming, don’t you see how selfish impractical you ppl are all you care is about your childs safety when someone else has to do it but when you are responsibal you take do what is normal and needed to live a normal life, don’t expect someone to shovel the snow in front of you house……..

  30. This will never be enforced the first parent with political influence will get their child special permission to stop at their house, and it will snowball back to where it is now or worse.

  31. to frozen feel
    we feel very bad for you but that’s somthing you have to work out, noone is your slave, if it doenst work that’s that’s you indiviual prblm

  32. To Making Sense,
    To address your first concern; All bus stops from the same family are supposed to be at the same location, if its not you must call the trans. office to correct it. Your second concern: what we used to do when one of us were not available to stay home with the younger ones, we used to take all our kids to the bus stop yes even bundle up the little one in the winter and drive or walk to the stop( I’m sorry but that’s the cost of raising a family). You also mentioned mothers who don’t drive. I hope that the mothers can walk or the fathers can drive or a neighbor waiting for the same bus.

  33. The reason why it takes so long is because the routes are made so bad. Most of the private schools with their own small bus companies make normal routes. they just need to make normal routes where every bus is going to a different part of town.every time i get a new route , i always redo it normally and it becomes 15 min shorter. it is impossible for a bus to take over in hour in the same area. boa should be concentration on making the normal routes instead of hurting our children

  34. I would agree that walking to a bus stop is not a big deal. but waiting between 20-30 minutes at a bus stop is. My children’s bus pick up times are so inconsistent and we are at the end of January already. It is difficult for the children and the parents. If we had a set time, I have no problem waiting at a designated stop. In addition, the official bus stop is on route 9 – with numerous cars each day passing the red flashing lights.

  35. what about if your kid is the only kid in that development to go to that school. The bus driver only has to make 1 stop whats the difference if it is in front of the house or the corner?

  36. I think it should be up to the discretion of the driver. If s/he thinks a stop will make the route take longer, then they should just say no. Last year, my son and daughter were picked up 25 minutes apart from each other, when the buses ran on time. We lived a 7 minute walk from the bus stop, which was a very busy intersection. I had twin 18 month olds who hated the stroller, and no way would they have been able to sit in it for 1/2 hour. The bus drivers came up my street to turn around anyway and passed my house. Would it make any sense to not stop at my house? Absolutely not. This year, my son and daughter leave within a few minutes of each other. My twins are older and can wait the few minutes fine. While one of the drivers goes up my block to turn around, the other doesn’t. I never even asked this year for them to stop at my house as that would inconvenience the bus driver who doesn’t pass my house. I don’t mind the daily walk and neither do my kids. Every situation is different, every bus driver should have a say.
    Also, I think there should be a little extra consideration for primary – 2nd graders who can’t walk to the bus themselves. Again, not in every case, but at the bus driver’s discretion, if it wouldn’t lengthen the route.

  37. This will also help the traffic situation. Ever get behind a bus that has to stop at every house on the block to pick up each Chaim Yankel, Yoily and Shprintzy????

  38. My children all were bussed from Lakewood to their private schools and for the past 17 years we had to walk them to a bus stop every morning, rain, snow, sleet, hail, heat, whatever. These past few years now all of a sudden numerous buses run up and down my street, backup, make k turns, even make kids get off the bus to turn around. We have seen it all and now I am happy to say GOODBYE LAKEWOOD once and for all.

  39. If you see cars passing the red lights every day, why don’t you take a video camera and start filming. These people are putting children in harm’s way, and the police need to know about it.

    Also, perhaps having their videos on YouTube would discourage them from passing busses who’s red flashing lights are on.

  40. This comment may cause a commotion, but….I was a teacher in Lakewood elementary schools for many years. Year after year I would watch the children get on busses that were not even half full. I do not know about a lot of other districts. The ones that I do know would never allow a school to have 5 staggered dismissal times with 1/3 – 1/2 full busses being sent out on each run. It is an extreme chessed of this township, one that we should be thankful for. In my opinion, if you are looking to cut the budget, another good place would be to force the schools to consolidate dismissal or give up township bussing.

  41. As a driver parents offer up to $5.00 or more a week to make house stops…Im not risking my job… I walked to the corner when I was a kid…and waited for a bus in cold weather…

  42. My current bus situation is a very good one. The bus stop is in front of my house. The problem I have though, is my child still waits an exorbitant amount of time outside. Why? Because the bus route has been changed so many times we dont know when the bus is coming or which bus will be picking him up. Can the BOE just make a decision and stick to it? Can the BOE make the changes next year so that we are all better prepared? Can the BOE officially notify the parents of such changes insead of us finding out these things by missing the bus or makin our children stand outside for 45 minutes waiting in 20 degree weather? Not everyone reads TLS and will even know about this change until the bus just decides to no longer pick up their children. Is giving official notice of changes too much to ask?

  43. To Leah:
    I think you’re missing the point of this article. The BOE is not eliminating any house stops that are in their database as an official stop. What the article states is that the they are asking those drivers and parents who agreed to add a house stop without BOE approval, to eliminate them immediately. Those who made these arrangement know who they are. The bus drivers will be notified via their company. It is the drivers responsibility to undo any arrangements that were made with these parents.

  44. My daughter’s bus STILL has no permanent bus driver. And so, I walk, with younger special needs child to the bus stop (when the bus passes my house anyway to get to the official stop), and will wait, yes, in the freezing cold, in the rain and snow, to take my daughter off the bus. It never comes at the same time, so I have to wait, on average 30 minutes, for the bus to come. There’s another driver every few weeks, and while everyone is so nice and sympathetic, pray tell, would it make that much of a difference for the driver to stop by my house so I dont have to wait outside in the rain and cold for 30 minutes? (I’ve even waited over an hour for this bus numerous times).

  45. It’s about time they stop this!! Like everyone else in Lakewood they should have pick up and drop off their children at a bus stop. So what if they have to walk 3 blocks. It’s the parents responsibility to get the child on and off the bus. Not the bus drivers!!

  46. #47. The problem is that our district is not run by a chief administrator connected to the citizens of this town but has been run for over a decade by either a board of laymen or by its attorney, albeit very skilled in his art.

    All this will change once Lakewood hires a chief executive with ties to Lakewood who will bring our disparate interests into coherence and use his bully pulpit to bolster support for education, efficiency, and opportunity; who is connected to community leaders and their mosdos, who is able to strong-arm them into accepting every child and to tier their closing times, take advantage of his connections to local business and politics for the benefit of the public school students; who will make the decisions that affect all in the community, so that no child will be deprived in any way whatsoever.

    A school board is just a board, not a single member executive entrusted with governance.

    This will change one day. It is not going to happen with this board. But it will happen. Just watch and see.

  47. # 52 you are 100% Correct when i went to school years ago the kids in the neighboor hood would all meet at one designated spot for the bus to pick them up and there were no problems, i understand that different schools have different times of school wich is ok but not to be a burden you can’t blame the children.I will say this when there is an over abundence of drivers in Lakewood.Now with all this congestion in town if a Emergency vehical ”
    Fire Truck Polic car Ambulance or Volunteer responding to a call and can not get through the traffic because of this problem of busses stopping every other house to pick up a student you know who to blame its the Transportation Department of the Board of Education who allows this to happen I’m sorry if I am bias but I’m not Thank you from Fire Dude1

  48. The only time I ever stop in front of a child’s house is if it a stop the BOE made, I do not nor will I ever stop at someone’s front door, even if I am passing past the house on the way to the corner, if you do it for one then the whole bus wants a house stop, I have parents ask me all the time if I could sop since I’m going that way anyway, and I tell them if you want it changed call transportation, close the door and deliver the rest of the students home in a timely manner. Now I know some of you will say I’m a mean bus driver but on the contrary, I am not. I am doing what I am supposed to do …… corner to corner.

  49. Could this many people really think the driver should stop at each house? Does anyone realize (as A. Lang said) that in most towns, students have to walk if they are within one or two miles of a school? Why is it that society as a whole keeps expecting to do less and get more handed to them? Lakewood, realize how lucky you are to get courtesy busing. Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t many private schools have one bus for girls and one for boys? Not for nothing, but that is absurd from a logistical and financial point of view.

  50. Stop it already…. If we picked up house to house, our runs would be 1 to 2 hours. IF THE BUILDING DOES NOT STOP….. Your children might have to walk, because driving will be impossible, case closed.

  51. Let’s all be adults when it comes to busing. Traffic is a total mess caused by over 700 buses currently on the road daily. One suggestion that must be thought of is stagering the times of schools for the non pubs. This one issue would save tax payers 3 million dollars and help the traffic mess immensly. When will Lakewood wake up.

  52. when i grew up we all walked 3-4 blocks in freezing cold and waited. If the kids and or parents did today we wouldnt have an obesity problem as in former generations.

  53. When I was in high school, the only way we got picked up in front of our houses was if we had a disabilty which made it hard to get to the bus stop. Walking a few blocks will be healthy for the kids. We all did it this generarion can do it. Suck it up.

  54. Everyone has posted excellent comments. With the BOE stating “no house stops” As a driver I adhere to the rule. However, when the parent calls the board they get their “house stop” If a parent want a house stop, get your information first, follow the bus one or two days and list the house stops then call the board of ed and bring those stops to their attention. You just might get lucky in getting a house stop. Good Luck

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