FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2024
Charlottesville Pupil Transportation Eliminated School Bus Waitlists by Hiring Drivers, Expanding Routes
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – The waitlist for school bus service in Charlottesville is now down to zero.
The City of Charlottesville, which operates Pupil Transportation for Charlottesville City Schools, expanded its team of drivers and did a full system reroute that went into effect starting January 2, 2024, the day students returned from Winter Break. The goal of this expansion and re-routing was to develop maximally efficient routes and to eliminate any remaining eligible students on the waitlist.
As of January 2, the final 250 waitlisted students became bus riders, bringing the total number of Charlottesville students on buses to 1,827.
The expanded team of drivers now includes:
- 17 full-time school bus drivers, plus 3 lead drivers who offer support for the regular drivers
- 2 school staff trained as school bus drivers (at Clark and Johnson)
- 3 vans driven by bus aides
Because of the ongoing national shortage of school bus drivers, Charlottesville City Schools began the 2023-24 school year with a bus waitlist of about 800 students. Priority was given to students whose families reported their level of need for the bus as “high” (e.g. “My student cannot get to school without the bus”). Throughout the fall, the City made weekly updates to bus rosters to move students with “medium” and “low” need from the waitlist. This expansion and re-routing will now serve all students who are eligible for and requested bus service; all known needs were met at the time of the re-routing.
Due to families moving in/out or within the school division, plus changes in family requests, the need for bus service continuously fluctuates. Any student that is eligible for bus service at their school but does not have a seat should contact their school.
“School transportation is one of the bedrocks of student success, and I am so grateful for the hard work of our team and our partners at the City that got us to this point,” said Kim Powell, Chief Operations Officer for Charlottesville City Schools. “I also want to thank the families for their patience and dedication to getting students to school while they waited for a bus seat to become available for their child.”
Additionally, because of its expanded capacity, Pupil Transportation can now support almost all requests for bus service for athletes, and additionally expects to expand its capacity for field trips, as well.
Students are eligible for the bus if they live outside their school’s “walk zone.” The walk zone – or “family responsibility zone” – is the radius of residences close to the school in which families are expected to have their children walk/bike or otherwise arrange their transportation.
Charlottesville City Schools’ walk zones are about 0.75 miles for the elementary schools (up to a 20-minute walk) and 1.25+ miles for grades 5-12 (up to a 30-minute walk). These radiuses are on the short end of regional and national averages. This year, about 1,100 students are in the walk zone for their school.
To assist students who might now be walking or biking, the school division has established an ongoing collaboration with the City to make ambitious improvements to pedestrian infrastructure, hire crossing guards, create walking groups, and raise motorist awareness.
Learn more about the Charlottesville City Schools at www.charlottesvilleschools.org. The address is 1562 Dairy Road, Charlottesville, VA, 22903. Phone: (434) 245-2400. Fax: (434) 245-2603.
Director of Communications & Public Enagement
City of Charlottesville