CINCINNATI — While Cincinnati Public Schools' transportation plans for all grades are still under construction, there are some changes for 7th and 8th graders. The CPS Board of Education voted on Monday to let eligible 7th and 8th graders take yellow buses to and from schools.
It's a change that comes after a tense back and forth last summer between the district and Metro and SORTA. In August, SORTA, The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, announced it would not reinstate specialty student bus routes, called XTRA routes, before the start of the upcoming school year due to driver shortages on metro buses.
It was a move that shocked CPS parent Christian Davis.
“My heart personally as a parent just dropped,” said Davis. “We were in panic mode, I was reaching out to friends to see if we could carpool.”
Board of Education member Mike Moroski, says Monday’s approval is a sign that the tension between the district and Metro has subsided.
“The last piece of our transportation plan that we need to tease out is what our new arrangement with Metro will look like.” He said. “Because the XTRA routes are not coming back. That's due in large part to the driver shortage. Which is certainly not Metro's fault and we certainly feel for them and we not only want to partner with Metro, we have to.”
Davis said she’s happy 7th and 8th graders can ride yellow buses once again.
“One of the biggest concerns for parents was the age of their 7th graders. I mean we’re talking about 12 and 13 year olds and are they ready to take on the big task of getting on a public bus,” she said.
Moroski says the board is creating a transportation plan that will cutdown on the time students are sitting on a bus.
“No student will be on a bus longer than an hour,” Moroski said. “Additionally we have elected to reduce the distance with which we will pick up students.”
If a 7th or 8th grader wants to ride Metro to school, they will have to be accompanied by an older sibling.
The district still plans to provide Metro passes for students involved with after school athletics.