PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Pinellas County is considering changes to the start times for some schools and changes to school bus routes.
Tmark Hagewood, the director of transportation for the school system says the changes are needed to improve efficiency.
“We haven’t been able to attract new drivers. We need some new drivers, so we thought we needed to look at our efficiencies to get the buses more on time,” said Hagewood.
The changes would impact District Application Students also known as Choice and could impact up to 7,000 students.
In addition to changing the start times for some schools, the changes would reduce the number of drop-off and pick-up locations for some bus routes.
“Right now, we pick up in an area and then we may have six or seven stops in an area and then we head to the school. This would combine those stops down to one stop. This would be more of an express route, the students would be on those buses a shorter period of time,” said Hagewood.
The school district says it is also starting a campaign to find out from parents how many students will be riding buses next year.
Hagewood says the information will allow the district to do a better job of planning routes.
“We assign 36,000 students every year to ride a school bus. We reserve a seat for them, but only 22,000 historically ride, so that’s 14,000 students that never get on the school busses,” said Hagewood.
The changes must still be approved by the school board.