Many questions circulated this year about the new busing system in place for the district. Recently, Tunkhannock Area High School Principal Todd Bosscher was asked him a few of those questions.
Q. Why was the decision made to change the busing system?
A. Mr. Bosscher stated that since the district consolidated into only three buildings, having a full train of 32 buses go from the primary center to the intermediate center, then to the high school, along with all the parents picking up their kids, having to fight through the traffic in town and go through multiple stop signs would take a very long time.
The administration realized this and decided to change the coordination of things. They “spent hours as an administrative team” to devise the new system. Mr. Bosscher also met with the bus and van drivers who come to the high school and worked with them to devise the best structure for them to use.
They decided to use a shuttle bus system to transport the students. About eight to 10 buses would start at the primary center and line up so the elementary kids can easily find their bus and board.
Then, those buses make their way to the intermediate center. While this happens, the other group of buses lines up at the high school. Once all the buses fill at the high school, they make their way to the intermediate center. This timing eliminates as much traffic as possible.
This system also helps to clear the buses out quickly and get the car drivers moving as fast as possible. The entire system was designed to help traffic move as quickly and fluently as possible.
Of course, there were some hiccups in the beginning, but within the first week, the system was revised and began working properly and in the way it was intended.
Q. Elementary kids were on the same bus as high school students at Roslund even before the consolidation. Could something plausible be done so that the youngest students would not ride with the oldest?
A. Mr. Bosscher responded that the current arrangement appears to be the only way to avoid having to run a two tiered busing system, which would require twice the amount of buses used and they would be running the same route twice.
Keeping the flow
Drivers or students picked up at the high school may have experienced being directed right at the stop sign by Curry Donuts. This rule reduces traffic hold ups at that stop sign and gets buses and cars out of the school grounds faster.
If one car is turning left, then as they’re waiting, they are also holding up all traffic behind them as well. With the new redirection process, the cars can easily funnel out and keep traffic moving.
This helps prevent bus clogging that can delay routes and delay students from getting home as fast as possible. If you must go left out of the school, you will have to go around the block or turn around in one of the parking lots and go back.
This may be inconvenient for people that must go left, but it has to be done to keep traffic moving.
Paint the Plow contest
Thankfully, the school board made all these changes before the snowy season hits and makes transportation even more difficult.
But, when that time does arrive, we have plenty of snow plows to help clear the roads.
Every year, PennDOT holds a paint the plow contest. Schools from the various PennDOT districts paint a design on one of their plows to go along with the year’s theme.
The theme this year was “Know Before You Go.” Artists Jordana Bach and Rebecca Sweigart designed and painted the plow.
Their idea was to do something more resembling NEPA rather than the typical school logo’s style designs that most other schools seemed to do. They wanted it to be a work of art rather than a gimmick.
They put many long hours of hard work into their painting, and the result is beautiful. PennDOT will use the plows within the schools’ counties throughout the winter. Also, special thanks to Karen Whitaker for her help with the lettering.
Thanks to the rethinking of the busing system, now that TASD is consolidated into the town of Tunkhannock itself, getting students quickly and safely back home in the afternoons will make the upcoming winter weather more workable for both the school system and the plows that clean the roads.
Samantha Shygelski is a junior at Tunkhannock Area High School.