Atlanta Public Schools tests bus routes today [Update]

July 29, 2014

APS-firstday_Post_side1The Atlanta Public Schools announced that it would be fully testing all the bus routes in advance of the first day of school on Monday, August 4th.



[Update] Talk Up APS reports that,

The day started at sunrise with a visit from Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen. She energized the crowd of about 400 with a message to drivers about their important role. “You are the first teacher a student sees at the start of the school day,” Dr. Carstarphen emphasized. The superintendent concluded her remarks with a simple, “please be safe” as the drivers headed out.

Per the news advisory,

Tomorrow, the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Transportation Department will conduct a practice run on all bus routes from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  

The purpose of the practice run is for bus drivers to familiarize themselves with routes within the school neighborhoods, improve accuracy of timing during current traffic patterns, and to approximate pick and drop off schedules for students with parents and guardians.

APS’ fleet of 333 buses, which includes 13 new buses that operate on green diesel technology, will travel 21,904 miles per day transporting 22,000 students to and from school. APS bus schedules for the 2014-15 school year will be available on the district’s website Friday, August 1.

Motorists should be aware that APS bus drivers will run their routes in real time, making stops, dropping bus arms and opening doors on the busy streets of Atlanta during morning and afternoon rush hours.

It is interesting to note that the bus fleet is now at 333 versus the “over 400” that was touted by APS in prior years. Per the APS Transportation Department website (see here – emphasis added),

The Transportation Department, Atlanta Public Schools, is preparing for a successful Day One on Monday August 4.  To effectively communicate bus stop, numbers and times, postcards with information for students eligible for regular bus transportation will arrive by mail this week.  Additionally, information will be on the APS website by Thursday, July 31, 2014.  You can also go to your open house on Friday, August 1st to get bus information. 

In addition, per the APS website,

  • All bus stop changes are updated and posted on all school websites by 8:00 am every Friday.
  • New/modified bus routes become effective Monday of each week.
  • The transportation department will send the school bus passenger lists to principals every Friday morning after 8:00 am.
  • New students can expect a 3-5 day waiting period before new bus stops are assigned.

The APS Transportation website also lists some changes for the upcoming year (see here – emphasis added),     

  • All students must register for school by July 10 in order to receive a bus stop prior to the first day of school. The Bus Routes will be posted on August 1, 2014
  • Students who do not register by July 10th will be assigned a bus stop on August 15th when updated bus routes are posted. There will not be any adjustments made to bus routes from July 30 – August 23.
  • After August 15th, bus routes will be updated on a weekly basis.
  • Students who do not have a bus stop and are eligible for APS transportation will be allowed to use the nearest bus stop until a permanent bus stop is assigned
  • APS will only transport students who are eligible for APS school bus transportation. 
  • Students who live within the walk zone of their school will not be eligible for bus transportation.
    • The walk zone for elementary students is one (1) mile within the school zone.
    • The walk zone for middle and high school students is one and one half (1 ½) miles within the school zone.
  • Bus drivers will have a list of students who are eligible to ride their bus.
  • APS will mail bus stop cards to parents with children who are registered and eligible to ride an APS school bus

Hopefully the testing this year will avoid some of the problems encountered with bus routes in the last two years. It should go much smoother this year as there is no change in the bell schedule (except at NAHS) and the bus routes should be reasonably consistent with the routes from this past year.

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