BPS plan to cut school-bus service from Charlestown to exam schools sparked outrage

The Charlestown Patriot-Bridge reports BPS told Charlestown parents of kids at Boston Latin School and Boston Latin Academy they'd have to take the T to get to school this year, but relented after parents protested and it became an issue in this year's city-council race.



Free tagging: 


Whatever happened to the gas money?

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Back around 2007 gas prices spiked, almost doubling My recollection is that the city council found $10 million to cover the cost. Prices have since halved again. In the meantime the school budget is up about 45%.meaning the 10 million is now almost $15 million in what was incremental crisis funding that should have been eliminated, but apparently never was. The system is still broke and there's ever less for transit and everything else.


Not sure if this is Harvey Impact Anticipation

But with a third of refinery capacity down prices are starting to climb. I made sure that I have a full tank for college weekend. After that, the new bike trailer will probably get the groceries.

Still inexcusable. As someone who used to take the T buses in Charlestown, there isn't any room for the number of students that they have to transport. They are also frequently held up in the downtown area.

Oh, but there is a difference

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In other parts of the city, the T basically has dedicated buses to get the kids to school, meaning that there are one or 2 runs of the 32, 34, and 36 (for example) that end at Avenue Louis Pasteur or Townsend Avenue. The justification is that they are theoretically regular buses running over a few routes. It would be a stretch to say that a bus starting in Charlestown (or East Boston, which was facing the same thing if you read the article) and ending at the schools are following regular bus routes.

Once more with feeling

The MBTA buses bringing people around those routes have two issues:
1. not big enough or frequent enough (IN REALITY) for the student loads
2. unreliable, as they get snarled downtown. It can sometimes be an hour wait for a bus that is supposed to come every 15 minutes.

But, hey, it isn't like there isn't an enormous school bus facility in Charlestown that imposes substantial environmental impacts on the people who live there (as all the buses going anywhere go through Charlestown), that could actually be used for their benefit or something ...

Six would be early

But getting on the train at BHCC at 6:30 ought to get you to class on time.

That's about when kids from other neighborhoods start off.

Irrelevant tangent

The school starts at the same time no matter where in Boston students live. The fact that it starts so early makes transit easier, not harder. Starting later would put the kids' transit in the middle of rush hour instead of before.

This post is about why kids in Charlestown deserve or don't deserve special treatment from BPS, not about our nation's woefully early high schools.

But what would a suburbanite know about it anyway?

What special treatment?

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Every neighborhood but Charlestown and East Boston gets dedicated bus service to BLS and BLA.

But yes, I do agree that the suburbanite likes to tell us Bostonians what is best for us.

Yellow school bus =/= MBTA bus

Does BLS subsidize the special MBTA routes in any way above and beyond every student having a T pass? Those are public buses; anyone can get on them. BLS paying for the Charlestown kids to have T passes and then footing the bill for school buses too is special treatment.

Parity would be a single extended run of the 92 bus... but that would take longer than the Orange Line.

So, SuckPoppet

How long did you live or work in Charlestown?

I'd bet you are much further removed than someone who goes through it daily (without using a motor - that's how close it is) and spent three years working there.

Only someone living as far from there as possible while still being in the same city (versus someone who regularly spends time there) wouldn't know about how the buses all start and end in Charlestown, regardless.


I find great amusement in suburban dingbats rattling on about things they know absolutely nothing about.

The best part is when they pick up completely irrelevant tangents and get all screechy about them, imagining they are constructively participating in a conversation. Hee-larious. Like a magpie with a piece of tinsel.

I bet SlurlyGull only rides a bike in from the burbs because her carpool couldn't stand her anymore.

I'm lacking the creative juices to invent the word

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But basically Swirly is doing the suburbanite equivalent of mansplaining.

Then again, those who have left the city love to quarterback what Boston should be doing from the comfort of their locations outside of Boston.

SwirlyGrrl, can you please

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be more polite? You are clear that you disagree with SockPuppet, but it would be nice to read these posts without the obscenities. Surely your vocabulary is more creative than this!

please be more

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Please be more polite to sock puppets because you know sock puppets.

I really, really hate to say it

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But I don't think you get it.

What the T does is splice different routes together to make the "high school" run. Doing it with the 92 leaves a gap in the middle. Moreover, there's no help for the kids in East Boston (again, read the article, Eastie is mentioned in it.)

Take a look at the schedule for the 30 (and for future people, this link will probably be dead.) The 6th "inbound" run of the day basically starts as the 27, becomes the 30 on Cummins Highway, then turns into the 36 when it hits Roslindale Square. I'm not going to lie. I've accidentally gotten on this bus in the morning. It is the CM bus.

But again, why should Eastie kids going to BLA or BLS have to make multiple changes while kids from Roslindale, Hyde Park, and that other neighborhood get a one seat ride?

I think you misunderstand the comparison

If the Westie kids can get on a bus that normally ends at Forest Hills but instead continues to Louis Pasteur, the equivalent would be Charlestown kids getting on a 92 that normally terminates at Haymarket but instead continues to Louis Pasteur.

I think they don't do this because it would be slower than getting on the Orange Line. It would be a one seat ride inferior to a two seat ride. The special routes they have already are slower than waiting a half hour at Ruggles for the CR (for those kids lucky enough to live near a CR line).

Eastie is a tougher nut to crack because they don't even have a bus route that crosses the bay - they terminate at Maverick because the Tobin is up in Chelsea and the Blue Line gets downtown faster. Sending a 120 on that detour would not provide a faster trip for the kids.

When will busing be re-evaluated?

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"80% of life is showing up." -- Woody Allen

It might be a good education for the young adults to take the T. A few questions and thoughts on this issue. IIRC, the BPS bus budget was an ungodly amount some years ago. What is it today?

Are Charlestown's non-exam high school students still bused across the city for desegregation or do they walk / take the T?

Seeking to attend an exam school is a choice. Shouldn't the parents factor in how the kids are going to get there? No excuse for short notice from the BPS but it seems a little gratuitous to expect a free ride. It's almost 2018, it might be time to take another look at busing.

The mention of "an active Methadone clinic" at Haymarket to thwart the plan is laughable. I believe methadone is served in a Dixie cup to all walks of life, from BMW drivers to homeless. Part of education is getting to school. Perhaps the students should experience the world they are about to enter.

School safety

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One simple way to make a safer ride for young students would be for the MBTA to allow the yellow school buses permission to pick up and drop off children in their stations and bus lanes .

Grumpy Old Latin Schooler

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When I went to Boston Latin, I lived in Dorchester Lower Mills. Walked a half-mile to the trolley, took the trolley to Ashmont, changed to the Red Line train, changed at Park Street to Arborway streetcar, got off near Boston State (that's how old I am...) and walked down to Avenue Louis Pasteur. Reversed the trek after school.

It was educational. I received an allowance from my folks and had to make sure I put enough aside for carfare. I had to make sure I got up early enough to make it to school on time, allowing for minor delays. I learned alternate routes home via experimentation while trying to find a way that would give me a seat for the full ride (never really accomplished that...) I learned that it was a pain in the ass to go to a school that took me more than an hour to get to and get back from, and I learned to hate school.

Would a bus have made it better? Probably. I don't know. Just felt like complaining about my childhood. I'm done now. Carry On.


You beat me to it...

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At the risk of sounding like the old coot who walked 20 miles uphill barefoot in the snow during an earthquake to get to school, when I went to Boston Latin School in the early 70s no special transportation was provided. We took the T using grainy little slips of paper called "transfers". I traveled from East Boston to BLS starting at age 12 (BLS 7th grade, "sixie"). I suspect people conditioned to today's way of doing things and treating children like, well, children for far, far too many years, would be horrified by such an independent 12 year old going so far across town like that. Like Suldog, I hated school, hated getting up so early, and I hated the commute AS a commute, but it was an eye-opening, growing experience that has served me well in adulthood. From a young age I knew how to basically get anywhere in the city via public transport if need be. A useful skill to have for job interviews and the like.

Chartered T buses

Weird. 1970s grad of Girls' Latin here, and I took a chartered T bus to and from Allston. There were a fleet of buses going to different neighborhoods at the end of the school day.

Grad of Boston Latin Academy, class of 1990

They gave us charters (along with our Boston Latin School peers) from Cleary Square, leaving at 6:40 and 6:50 every morning, and usually took about a half hour to get to Ipswich Street. Sometimes the bus wouldn't show up, so we'd be on the Route 32 bus to Forest Hills or Arborway to ride the former E line trolleys to Ruggles/Museum, walk across the Fens to Ipswich Street, collect our LATE BUS passes, and head to the middle of whatever class we were missing.

The afternoon was the reverse, but only one Cleary Square bus, leaving promptly at 1:50 from Boylston Street and arriving back at Cleary Square around 2:20. I'd sometimes ride the Dedham Line bus so I could catch the less-crowded Route 50 bus back home.

Same here...

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except I didn't hate school most of the time.

Commute to Girls' Latin in the 60's:

T bus down Washington St. From Beech St. In Rozzie to Forest Hills; OL to Dudley; T bus to Codman Square. Reverse at end of school day.

Took about an hour and there were never any seats plus you were carrying a big stack of books, murder in the hot September and June days.

But, I was doing the commute with a handful of other girls, lucky enough to escape the projects via the exam schools.

And it was certainly educational, especially the day a dude got on the bus at Dudley blaring Aretha Franklin's RESPECT on his transistor radio, the day after riots in Grove Hall. Except for that song, there was dead silence on the bus.

Same could be said for most

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At our ages. Same could be said for getting to christopher Columbus high only a different route.
We were better people for it.

Not a Local

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but I will *not* be left off the old fogey train! In the late 60s/early 70s I went to a Jesuit high school in Chicago that was then only a hundred years old but can give the Latin School a run for the money education/reputation-wise (and was probably also a lot more diverse back then and maybe even now than the Latin School, despite being a Catholic school). Things are very different now, but the neighborhood the school is in was a lot dicier back then than the Fenway was when I first moved there in 1980 (as were many of the neighborhoods I had to go through to get to school from the South Side of Chicago), not to mention the Fenway now. I won't bore with the various routes I took that won't mean anything to anyone here, but I and pretty much everyone else in the school (attendance then 12-1500) took the CTA (admittedly a more advanced and comprehensive system than the T) to get to and from school from all over Chicago and the suburbs (to this day, I think they have the occasional student taking a train in from southwestern Michigan, which, if you're geographically challenged, is a *long way" from Chicago). Had friends from all over the city and used to ride the el all over the city in the middle of the night, starting from 12 years old. Though the commute could be pretty tedious, it was also liberating and confidence-building. Even before then, my siblings and I used to take the el downtown or the CTA bus to Rainbow Beach on Lake Michigan by ourselves, not to mention all the other insane things we used to do with our bicycles, in the snow, etc.

Now get off my Beacon Street/Park Drive condo association's patch of concrete!

They're trying to increase

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They're trying to increase diversity in the exam schools. By making it inconvenient for some of the people in predominantly white neighborhoods to send their children the exam schools, they might decide to send them to schools elsewhere thus freeing up slots for minority students.

So what are they doing in Westie?

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You know, where a ton of white kids come from? Throwing up burning tire blockades on Centre?

I don't suppose it would do any good to point out that the way BPS is trying to increase diversity at BLS is to make it easier for minority kids to get I to the free test prep program - and by doing a better job showing minority parents their kids are just as eligible for the school, because that would require knowing something of the history of the school, and a desire not to make up conspiracy theories.

Speaking of history, BPS has a history of doing one boneheaded thing every year or two, so maybe the Charlestown bus thing just shows they were due, not that they hate white kids.