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Is it time to have school busses in Palo Alto

Original post made by Bus the Kids on Nov 20, 2013

Given all the traffic increases and more high density developments planned throughout the city, is it time to consider school busses as the "Safe route to school". We seem to be a bit schizophrenic, wanting more bicycling throughout our town but at the same time adding office space and small apartments everywhere. Unfortunately it seems to be only a matter of time before a tragic accident occurs.

And many kids aren't biking to school, but are driven. Getting all the parents that drive their kids to school off the roads would take a lot of pressure off of rush hour. How about it? School busses for Palo Alto?

Comments (7)

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Assuming that each bus costs $50,000 to $70,000, and a bus driver will likely cost from $70,000 to $100,000 a year to hire--and remembering that a bus can only hold 40-50 kids, what kind of yearly expenditure for this program are you prepared to see?

Why not do the math, and get back to us.


Posted by Bus the Kids, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Wow $100K a year for a part time job? Pretty sweet!

How much is a child's life worth? We're going to be looking at gridlock at Page Mill and El Camino and East Charleston and El Camino. Seems like it's worth thinking about how to eliminate some of those cars dropping off kids each morning. Have you seen the backup at Hoover for example?


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Why not restrict motor vehicle traffic during bike commute hours instead? Just close the road for a hour in the morning and afternoon and let the students bike to school. Biking is still better than waiting for stinking school buses.


Posted by Paly Mom, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm

There is already a shuttle that travels down Embarcadero but the morning schedule is so bad (every 15-20 minutes) than hardly anyone uses it in the morning. It's used after school, however. According to Paly's principal, 1000 students ride their bikes to school. My children took the bus when we lived in MN but it was a 45 minute bus ride while the time to drive was only 15 minutes. I drive my children to Paly about half the time, and the other half, they bike. I know the traffic on Embarcadero and Alma, and the back-up is NOT Paly students. Most cars are NOT turning into Paly's parking lot. The back-up is a result of commuters. Biking is still the fastest route to school, for those who live in North Palo Alto.

Re "closing the road", cars are not supposed to travel on Churchill, over the tracks, towards El Camino from 7:45 to 8:30AM on weekdays due to all the bikes. There are still cars that do, however.

However, Gunn students should have a shuttle or bus. The one-hour mile is a mess and biking is not safe for Gunn students with the busy Charleston/Arastradero.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2013 at 8:01 am

Very hard to take seriously a headline with such a glaring spelling mistake, but I like the topic anyway.

School buses (busses is what someone clearing tables does) were done away with in Palo Alto for the general school population for money reasons decades ago.

I don't think dedicated school buses will happen and perhaps should not happen in Palo Alto. However, yes we do have a shuttle service which is free for some students and other students have no shuttle option at all. The shuttle should be expanded and it should not be free, a small fare and the ability to get all students to their schools including teachers and other people who do similar commutes would alleviate traffic all over town.

Whenever the city discusses traffic, the expansion of the shuttle is never discussed. From those who use the Embarcadero shuttle for Paly, they tell me it is well used. The VTA to Gunn is also well used. But obviously these are inadequate for the number of students and they do not serve all areas of town. It would make a great deal of sense for the City to look again at the shuttle and make it much more comprehensive.


Posted by Bus the Kids, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Actually, busses is ok, just out of favor

Web Link

Lots of talk about the high schools (which I know discourage students from driving but many still do). How about some of the other schools. Anyone seen Middlefield and East Charleston near Hoover in the morning?


Posted by single story neighbors, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm

"high density developments planned throughout the city"

Won't have to worry about that in our community.


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