The district's new bus route strategy reduces the number of stops buses are required to make, therefore reducing ride times and allowing for later pickups and the potential for earlier arrivals, according to Dives. Part of the strategy also includes prohibiting travel down streets where a bus would be required to turn around, he said during the meeting.
"This is really for safety reasons and it saves time. Busses are not small; it takes longer to turn one of those around than it does a car, especially in curved areas like cul-de-sacs," Dives said.
MISD implemented the idea for this route strategy in the Lake Windcrest neighborhood in 2018 after parents in the neighborhood raised concerns about early morning pickups, Dives said during the meeting. He said some student riders were previously required to be at the bus stop by 5:50 a.m.
"[That early pickup time] is really not conducive for a successful education," Dives said during the meeting. "This new plan means our kids can sleep longer; they're not on the bus as long; and [the district] doesn't have buses traveling as many miles."
One portion of the new route included three sections of Lake Windcrest with 14 bus stops, while a portion of the original route had 19 stops in just one section. Reducing the number of stops means bus riders have to walk slightly further to the bus stop closest to them, Dives said.
"[The bus stop] may not be right outside their front door anymore, but it may be at the nearest corner instead," he said. "Our router assured me that no student would be on the bus for more than 50 minutes, which is a big difference than the [previous] hour and 20 minutes or hour and a half."
The new strategy would also save the district between $600,000 and $900,000, eliminate eight complete bus routes and reduce the number of buses needed to transport riders, Dives said.
"[Dives] found a more efficient way for us to proceed with our routing that would help us on the time aspect. The ultimate goal is to get kids home in a more timely way, or maybe not have to start so early in the morning," MISD Superintendent Todd Stephens said during the meeting.