CPS Bussing. C’mon get happy.

September 8, 2015 at 8:09 pm 31 comments

PartridgeFamilyBus01-500

I figured that since bussing creates a substantial amount of angst every year and people can benefit from sharing pointers, I’d start a Fall 2015 bus thread.

For those who are new to CPS bussing, it typically takes weeks (and sometimes lots of parent organization) to work out the bus schedules.   I haven’t seen any complaints on Facebook yet today.  Maybe this is the year it all magically resolves and works like clockwork.  I hope so!

I understand that some kids have been re-assigned to new pickup locations for consolidation which is also likely to complicate things.

Good luck to everyone riding the bus!

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31 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pritzker Mom  |  September 8, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    This morning I got a call at 9:30 (a half hour after school started) on my phone at home asking for the location of my children’s bus stop.

    What she asked was “Where on LaSalle is the stop? LaSalle and what street?”

    I had to tell her that the stop is at LaSalle Language Academy – which is on Orleans & not on LaSalle”

    Luckily I had driven my kids to school for the first day & was already home when she called our landline.

    How does a bus driver not have access to a route map or GPS? Why was she given my landline & not my cell number? Will my kids get to school tomorrow? This happens every year. With every bus company. You’d think that someone would figure it out already.

  • 2. BigCityHappyMom  |  September 8, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    We just set our third grader’s alarm for 5:45 a.m. so we will have enough time to get ready and drive him to his new bus stop a mile from our house to catch his 6:54 a.m. bus to his school that is two miles from our house. It’s all beyond absurd and I’m so, so tired of fighting CPS every single year on busing issues. It’s exhausting.

  • 3. Parent_N  |  September 8, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Pritzker bus came at 8:55 for 9:00 start time. Return bus arrived at 5:45. I’m just happy we didn’t lose our stop.

  • 4. I  |  September 8, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    I

  • 5. I've been at this a long time and still can't figure it out  |  September 8, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    @BigCityHappyMom, what time does your third grader’s school start? If you drive a mile to the bus stop, why not drive the two miles to the school and potentially allow a little more sleep in the mornings? Is it because of a work schedule? I’ve always been baffled by the CPS bussing system in general. I’m not trying to be snippy — I’m really trying to understand it.

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  September 8, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I drive my son instead of him taking a bus, but we live pretty close to the school. We can be there in 15 minutes so I drop him off then drive to the Metra train. But it’s difficult to get to work on time unless he hangs out at school beforehand. I think the trouble of drop-off at school is how you get to work from there (for working parents.)

  • 7. LearningCPS  |  September 8, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    New stop for us and it was our worst first day experience in our 3 years taking the CPS bus. No bus in the morning, so we drove and got our child to school on time but us late to work. Afternoon drop off was more than an hour after school dismissed…for a 2 mile drive. The school that is the stop has one assigned bus monitor, who varied between being MIA to doing little to nothing to manage a chaotic situation of busses, narrow streets and parents coming to get their kids both from busses and the school, let alone actually making sure kids were getting on/off the right buses and safely to parents. Hoping for better things tomorrow!

  • 8. Stephen  |  September 8, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    New to bussing. Bus arrived almost a half hour late (28 minutes) to our stop, the first stop. Older student but it does not make it easier! I don’t get it and have heard the horror stories and now get to live them. Who do you get more response from if you have troubles – the board of ed’s dept of transportation or the bus company themselves?

  • 9. cpsobsessed  |  September 8, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    @Stephen, I have seen people work things out with the bus company (and it takes time – sometimes helping them figure out how to improve the route for efficiency) and potentially bringing in the transportation dept if not getting a response or improvement. Ultimately it’s the humans on your route who will make it happen so working with them is the best way to deal with the realities of the route.

  • 10. BigCityHappyMom  |  September 8, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Yes, due to work schedules and a second child needing to be dropped off at school as well. The timing and locations don’t make driving a feasible option. And we only have one car. It’s a complicated mess.

  • 11. AC BUSSING  |  September 9, 2015 at 12:25 am

    my son told me that some students arrived in the middle of first period & others not until the beginning of second period!! So happy I can drive him to school! Previously at his magnet school we had late pick up or no pick up 30% of the time!!!! I would have to take HS brother to school then drive him to school then go to work! I would be very late and spent by the time I got to work! Luckily I had an understanding boss! These staggered times sounds like it made everything worse in my opinion!

  • 12. west rogers park mom  |  September 9, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Well an hour after school let out yesterday my daughter’s bus had not arrived yet. Luckily she’s older and she knows CTA so that’s how she ended up getting home. We are going to try the am bus tomorrow- at a new stop over a mile from our house.

    I’m saddened to hear about the monitor mentioned above. The old stop, now eliminated, had two wonderful monitors who basically watched my daughter grow up. They would have done a much better job than the monitor ‘LearningCPS’ encountered.

    In my opinion this limited bussing is going to change the demographics of magnet and SEES, because lack of transportation = lack of accessibility to these schools for those who don’t another way to get their children to school.

    Take a look at this map. https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=zFmSTx0AJCww.kzPIaUCQCQyI

    For example, Rogers Park has only one stop, Field Elementary school, which is in area that has seen recent gang violence and is not easily accessible to those that live near Sheridan. This is an extremely dense neighborhood that presumably has a high population of school age children eligible for bussing. Many people in the neighborhood don’t have cars so couldn’t drive to Field if they wanted to. So those who can get their kids to school by other means will and some of those who can’t will transfer. This will leave more spots for other families who have the means to get their children to school and further reduce the socioeconomoic diversity of the programs.

  • 13. Pritzker Mom  |  September 9, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Second day of the bus was a little better. The bus came at 9 – right when school started. The addition of a bus monitor to our pick-up location is a big improvement over previous years. I’m very happy about that. Our bus driver was assigned an impossible route. He picks up at Skinner West at 8:10, goes to Ogden, LaSalle, Alcott & Meyer and is supposed to get to Pritzker before 9. The people at CPS Transportation were helpful and said the bus companies are responsible for the routes and timing and that I should call the company first and ask them for assistance if the company pushed back on making the adjustments.

  • 14. LearningCPS  |  September 9, 2015 at 10:44 am

    @ West Rogers Park Mom – Our old stop from the past two years also had 2 very good monitors, so I was very surprised about the situation at our stop this year. I e-mailed that school’s principal last night and was told that CPS assigns the monitors and only assigned one to this school even though they added busses. He is going to have more of his staff help manage the parent traffic that was impeding busses though. The monitor was there again this morning, and seems nice, but definitely not in charge of the situation the way our other monitors were. Our bus was 15 minutes late this morning, meaning they had 15 minutes to get my daughter to school on time. I’ll be curious if that happened. We have a sitter meeting her at the bus after school today, so fingers crossed that goes smoother than yesterday.

    @ Stephen – It can be maddening because the bus company does plan the routes, but it’s often hard to get to someone in charge there to impact anything. CPS Transportation will note complaints and concerns and has followed up with us at times, but they also will say it is up to the bus companies. If you have a number of parents who are frustrated on your route, you can have more success getting CPS to work with the bus company if everyone is calling than if it is just you. I’ve spend a lot of hours on the phone to both over the last few years, there is sadly no perfect solution. Your bus contact at your school can also be helpful, but sometimes they have limited influence over any of it.

  • 15. jen  |  September 9, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    In past experience, it takes 3-4 weeks for bus service to work out. If the 500 million doesn’t come in December/January, I cannot imagine bus service not being slashed abruptly for everyone other than special needs students. It would be worth, imo, starting to think through a back up plan just in case. Of course bus service is really the last thing to worry about if the money doesn’t come through.

  • […] CPS Bussing. Cmon Get Happy – CPS Obsessed […]

  • 17. buckyandme  |  September 10, 2015 at 10:52 am

    I live in Lakeview, purely because CPS offered bussing, my son is in school in Chatham. I don’t drive and he is in 8th. Our new stop is over 6 blocks from our house. I’m thinking of enrolling him in college. I know you think I’m playing but I’m so serious. His ACT scores are all college level except math. I’m just glad we’re not starting with CPS now.

  • 18. Accepted  |  September 10, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Busing may be an option at NTA. I received a form today.

  • 19. vb  |  September 11, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    The July 30th CPS press release stated: http://cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/PR1_7_30_2015.aspx
    “Later this summer, CPS will also release a list of magnet school bus stops that are being consolidated for an additional $2.3 million in savings. …CPS will also be reducing bus monitors for a savings of $2 million.”

    I’d like to point out that nearly the entire cost savings is the reduction of the bus monitors.

    The alternative for my family is CTA bus service (with multiple transfers), which have no bus monitors anyway. The truly absurd thing for me is knowing that the CPS buses are still going to be running past my local school, between the consolidate bus stops. But the CPS buses won’t be stopping at my local school anymore due to the lack of a bus monitor. It would cost nothing to have the buses stop and pick up students at the former monitored stops.

    I understand the significant cost savings from reducing bus monitors. But I don’t understand the elimination of the bus stops for that reason. I think CPS should keep the bus stops without the monitors for parents who could choose to still use those CPS bus stops. For parents who require a bus monitor, they can choose to use an alternative location having a bus monitor

  • 20. jen  |  September 11, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    @19, some parents would leave students unattended anyways, with or without a monitor no matter the age of the student. Once that student is on CPS property, waiting for a CPS bus, the liability issue for the district is the problem. A student gets shot, a kid runs into traffic, wanders away, gets punched, etc, etc, and it would be CPS’s fault.

  • 21. LPDad  |  September 12, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I’m trying to be glass-half-full, here…

    Yes, my child’s “stop” is no longer the closer “neighborhood school” –but we’re still lucky because it’s still pretty close and we live in a safe neighborhood, my kid’s good with crossing streets, is a little older (middle school), etc., so can walk home alone, no problem (we still walk him/her in the morning, but probably don’t even have to do that, since we’re kinda’ ‘free range’ parents, my kid’s very responsible, has good sense about handling the occasional weirdo that may be around, carries a loud whistle, etc.).

    On even more of an up side: The ride to/from school is quicker since there are fewer stops, which is nice. This bus now picks my kid up 50 mins before the start time, rather than 1h 15 mins, like last year.

    All in all, given the truly dire state of finances for CPS and the city (somewhere between NYC c. 1975 and Detroit c. 2010 –it really is that bad and truly scary), I’m just glad that there is bus service at all.

  • 22. HS_newbie  |  September 24, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Academic Center, 7th grade – our assigned bus stop is 1.8 miles from home and school itself is 2.4 miles in the opposite direction. So definitely no bus for us this year :((

  • 23. cpsobsessed  |  September 28, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Just saw a channel 7 news story about late busses as SN and Pritzker. CPS supposedly responding to the complaints of buses being really late.

  • 24. LSmom  |  September 29, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Here’s a link to the channel 7 segment: http://abc7chicago.com/education/school-bus-delays-i-team-gets-answers-from-cps-/1007173/

  • 25. psmom  |  September 29, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Now my Skinner North child is getting home 30 minutes later with the new improved route. It is now leaving Skinner, going to Drummond, Pritzker, and finally Darwin.

    At least she is now getting to school on time instead of 15/20 minutes late.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  September 29, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Wow. All those school on one route ?

  • 27. psmom  |  September 30, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Yes, not sure if they are at Franklin first or not.

  • 28. cpsobsessed  |  September 30, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    What time is morning pickup?

  • 29. psmom  |  October 1, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    7:40am at Darwin. Not bad. Right now the bus is on time. Prior to this week it was scheduled for 7:33 but never got there before 8:03.

    For returning, prior to this week the bus picked up at Franklin and Skinner and then dropped off at Drummond, Darwin, and a couple other schools. Usually got to Darwin between 4:10 and 4:15. Now it is taking much longer with the Pritzker pickup.

  • 30. Ellsgirl1  |  October 9, 2015 at 6:30 am

    You’re lucky you even get bus service. I’ve been fighting with my child’s school to give her bus service because we’re close to a mile away from her school and she’s 11 years-old and walking alone. It’s unsafe for her because she’s crossing major streets and we’re not in the best neighborhood. It’s hard finding people that have walking groups or carpools. The school time 7:45 and I start work at 7:00. She gets out of school at 2:45 and I get off at 3:30…CPS school system and the way they go about things really frustrates me.

  • 31. Sangita Deb  |  August 30, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Hello! I am a CPS mom, trying to find transportation from Hyde Park to Lasalle Language Academy. Interested in either carpooling or other private transportation companies. Can someone help.

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