A candidate for the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors has suggested the county and Capital District Transportation Authority partner to provide transportation to students in the county as a possibly rememy to the current bus driver shortage.
“A CDTA/County/School District partnership would also save hard-earned taxpayer dollars. We could use the over $40 million we spend annually on public transportation — most of it on school buses — more efficiently and effectively,” said Gordon Boyd, who is running to represent Saratoga Springs on the Board of Supervisors.
Boyd is proposing that older students have bus passes to take a CDTA bus to school.
The idea comes as districts indicated they are still struggling to hire enough bus drivers for their routes.
“Fewer buses, fewer drivers needed, less cost to school taxpayers,” Boyd said in a press release. “A partnership with the schools would enable CDTA to field more buses, and more routes, using the same dollars that we now spend on oversized and understaffed school fleets,” he added.
Both the CDTA and county declined to comment on the suggestion.
The CDTA currently works with schools and other organizations through its Universal Access Program. The Greater Amsterdam School District and Schenectady City School District both participate in the program.
Under the program the students swipe their IDs to get on the bus and access is paid for by the district. The cost for the district is based upon ridership.
“The agreements normally include annual price ceilings to control cost exposure while providing budget predictability,” states the CDTA website. “Some organizations pass a portion of this expense on to employees or students to help pay for access.”
The Shenendehowa Central School District said it is willing to look at all options for transporting students.
“If there is a way to help address the reliance on school pupil transportation in the face of an increasingly severe shortage of school bus drivers, we are certainly open to reviewing and assessing all possibilities,” said Kelly Barclay, the district spokesperson.