Q & A
Why Has MERSD Instituted a User Fee?
User fees help to defray the cost of optional bus service that MERSD is not required to provide by law. Massachusetts General Law (MGL) requires MERSD to transport only students residing more than two miles from school. However, because regional school districts receive a state reimbursement for students transported 1.5 miles or further, the MERSD bus fee will only apply to non-reimbursable students who reside less than 1.5 miles from their school.
How Are Distances Determined?
MERSD uses route mapping software to calculate the shortest driving distance between your home and school address. This method is consistent with Massachusetts General Laws and is audited annually by an outside accounting firm that reports findings to the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. To view the distance for your child, please visit: http://planner.myrouteonline.com. Click the box on the top left, labeled “1 Addresses,” and enter your home address in the box labeled “Start Address here.” Then enter the school address in the box labeled “Full address A here.” Click “Next” at the bottom of the screen, then “Continue” and then “Plan My Route” at the bottom of the next screen. The driving distance will be calculated and displayed in miles.
What Happens if A Student Forgets or Loses Their Pass?
For the first week of school only, bus drivers will have a list of eligible riders. Thereafter, students will not be allowed to ride without their pass. Lost passes can be replaced for a fee of $10.00 by contacting the MERSD Central Office.
Are Seats on the Bus Guaranteed?
Space for students residing 1.5 miles or more from school will be guaranteed by MERSD, provided that they have registered to ride using the online enrollment process.
Space on a bus for students residing less than 1.5 miles from school will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to route consolidation in the coming school year, MERSD cannot guarantee space for students residing less than 1.5 miles from school, and does not intend to add buses to process these requests. It is currently anticipated that there will be fewer number of buses compared to prior years.
How Will Bus Routes Be Impacted?
Routes will be consolidated in the coming school year, and are expected to change vs. prior years with fewer total buses. Salter Transportation will review addresses of registered students and make adjustments to routes as needed to ensure that stops are appropriate for the majority of riders.
Can Registered Students Ride Any Bus?
No. Students will only be allowed to ride the school bus to which they are assigned. Transportation is intended for travel to and from a student’s home, not other locations. With the understanding that some students consistently travel to and from multiple addresses and homes, students will be permitted to travel to more than one address if it is on a recurring, predictable schedule. It is our hope that this will be helpful to families, while still allowing MERSD to have advanced knowledge of which students will be on a given bus. This advanced knowledge is important for planning demand vs. capacity and for safety reasons so we know where students should be each day. Requests to ride more than one bus should be provided to: email@example.com. Please be aware that travel to destinations that are less than 1.5 miles from school will be subject to the $225 annual per student fee. Students will not be allowed to travel home on a friend’s school bus.