Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has implemented a new transportation plan for students in magnet programs: CMS Express Stops.
The stops, located at schools nearby the students’ homes, will serve as pickup and drop-off points for students in need of transportation to farther magnet schools.
CMS will launch Express Stops next month at the start of the new school year.
“What we want to make sure we are doing is being able to provide the best service possible for all students in the district,” Adam Johnson, the district’s executive director of transportation, told reporters.
“That’s going to require us to move into this Express Stop plan.
The new plan is supposed to reduce students’ ride time by decreasing the amount of buses being used. It will also support the district in addressing transportation issues amid nationwide bus driver shortages.
The district currently has 51 driver vacancies. The goal, he said, is to take some busses off the road during the vacancies.
After several test rides, the average ride time is 30 minutes, an improvement from its previous ride times that often left students with an hour or two journey to school.
Students will catch the bus at later times, but arrive at their schools no later than 6:45 am each day, Johnson said.
There are 110,000 assigned riders across the district and 40 Express Stops with signage visible at each participating school.
The district also plans to use churches, clubhouses and other neighborhood locations as consolidated stops for students who aren’t near Express Stop options.
Parents who aren’t able to get to nearby stops are asked to reach out to transportation officials.
“Let us know so we can try to work with you before the school year starts,” Johnson said.