BPS changes student busing, and not for the better.

Busing in Boston

This school year, Boston Public Schools (BPS) is changing the way it transports middle school students to school. Starting in September, most 8th graders will no longer receive yellow bus service and will receive a T pass instead. Some 6th and 7th graders at select schools will move off the yellow bus and onto the T as well.

There are undoubtedly some students and families who will benefit from the flexibility of having a T pass. There are others for whom this approach creates genuine safety concerns. To the Lawyers’ Committee, these safety concerns become a question of educational equity. When coupled with the district’s new student assignment system, the new transportation policy will force some families to choose between the quality of their child’s school and their child’s safety getting there and back. This is a choice no family need make.

The Lawyers’ Committee worked to oppose this change in transportation policy with the Boston Branch of the NAACP, the Union of Minority Neighborhoods, Massachusetts Advocates for Children, the Combined Clergy of Boston, and others. Lawyers’ Committee staff testified before the School Committee  (47 minute mark) and City Council on the topic, and authored an Op-Ed  and a Letter to the Editor published by the Boston Globe. Our collective opposition helped to significantly reduce the number of students impacted by the plan (the original proposal called for all 7th and 8th graders to ride the T), and an extensive, ongoing monitoring process agreed to by Mayor Walsh, BPS, and the MBTA.
For parents concerned about the new middle school transportation policy:

  • BPS is currently providing waivers for parents concerned for their children’s safety riding the T. You can call the transportation hotline at 617-635-9520 or fill out an online waiver form to request one.
  • BPS is also providing waivers for 8th graders who have younger siblings riding the yellow bus if space is available.
  • BPS will provide yellow bus service for students whose commutes would involve more than two transfers or would last more than an hour. BPS also plans to use yellow buses to shuttle students between some schools and some T stations.
  • You can read more about the new BPS transportation policy here.
  • Do not hesitate to contact Mayor Walsh to convey your concerns: 617-635-4500, mayor@cityofboston.gov.