State Education Department

School Bus Routing

New York's school districts spend more than $1 billion a year to transport students to and from schools. We examined the efficiency of bus routes in selected districts and found that some districts did not stagger their schools' daily starting and ending times to reduce the number of buses needed to transport students. We also found that some districts rarely filled their buses to near capacity. For example, the buses in one district were filled to at least 80 percent of capacity on only 12 percent of their routes, while the buses in a comparable district were filled to at least 80 percent of capacity on 82 percent of their routes.

In addition, districts usually transport a small number of students to private schools. We found that some districts shared this responsibility, and as a result, made more efficient use of their buses; however, other districts did not share this responsibility. When one district began to use such cooperative busing arrangements, it saved more than $600,000 over a two-year period. The Department is required by law to ensure that bus routes are efficient. However, due to limited staffing, the Department was not actively monitoring how districts used their buses. 94-S-69