Public transit replacing late bus service at Framingham High
The MetroWest Daily News
January 27, 2012
FRAMINGHAM — The days of late buses at Framingham High School are probably over, Principal Mike Welch said. Luckily, the same can’t be said of public transportation in general.
Thanks to a $1,000 donation from Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone’s office, Framingham High students soon will be able to use free $1 bus vouchers to hop a ride on the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority bus that makes a stop on Concord Street, just a short walk from the high school.
Welch hopes the MWRTA will be the school’s long-term answer to the demise of the late bus program, a victim to budget cuts that hasn’t been offered at Framingham High in three years.
Hundreds of students stay after school every day, he said, many of them to receive extra tutoring or to work on projects.
“That’s the first line of defense when a student is struggling,” Welch said. “We don’t want transportation to be an impediment to students getting the instruction they need.”
The high school has offered small amounts of bus vouchers in the past, which were snapped up quickly, according to Welch. The latest boost to the initiative came about thanks to Welch’s participation in Leone’s new Framingham Youth Development Collaborative, a coalition of town leaders whose aim is to promote youth safety.
While discussing the high school’s late bus predicament at a recent meeting, Welch said Leone told him, “Maybe I could kick in some money for some bus passes.”
“I said, ‘That’s great — how about $1,000?’” Welch said. “I kind of pinned him on it.’”
Leone came through on his offer, and the money arrived at Framingham High Monday. Welch hopes to distribute the bus vouchers to assistant principals and teachers to pass out to students some time in the next week.
“While not a long term solution to this problem, it is my hope that this will pave the way for (one),” Leone wrote in a letter to Welch.
Next year, Welch’s goal is to make room in the school budget for more bus passes.
“I don’t see the late buses coming back in any way,” he said.
But on the bright side, guiding kids to the MWRTA’s service may be more beneficial anyway. Distributing passes individually, as opposed to offering a late bus service, for example, may discourage students from hanging around at the school after hours unless they have a real academic need to do so, Welch said.
In addition, the initiative could help introduce students to the usefulness of public transit.
“It’s more comprehensive than kids may think,” Welch said. “For just a dollar, it really opens up your world quite a bit.”
The MWRTA’s system extends west to east from Marlborough to Newton, and north to south from Sudbury to Milford.