UDSD Transportation

October/November Public Newsletter

Why a Newsletter

The purpose of these monthly newsletters is to bring more transparency to our community with the hope of bringing a better understanding of what it takes to provide safe transportation while following District policies and State and Federal Laws. Without providing the community with the opportunity to have this information we cannot work together and grow in order to support each other, but most of all the 4,500+ students that we transport on a daily basis.


Our District is made up of six (6) Public Schools:


  • Upper Dublin High School
  • Sandy Run Middle School
  • Fort Washington Elementary School
  • Jarrettown Elementary School
  • Maple Glen Elementary School
  • Thomas Fitzwater Elementary School


We also transport to more than forty (40+) Private, and Parochial schools from mid-August until the end of July.


All of this is done with a fleet of forty-one (41) buses and nine (9) vans, with an average routed vehicle to spare vehicle ratio of 10:1.

Operation Safe Stop 2019 (Today 10/23/19)

A one-day study conducted in 2018, which included 38 states, showed that on that one particular day 83,944 incidents of illegal school bus passing occurred. Those results suggest that there could be as many as 15 million incidents during the normal 180 day school year.


In a nine-year period 301 school-aged children were killed from school transportation related crashes. More than one third of the students killed, 102 to be exact, were killed while approaching or disembarking the bus.


In the state of Pennsylvania if you are convicted of illegally passing a school bus you are subject to a $250 fine, five (5) points on your license, and a sixty-day suspension of your drivers license.


Although it is a week long program (10/20 through 10/26), Operation Safe Stop is an annual event held in the state of Pennsylvania to bring awareness to motorists and communities about the dangers of passing stopped school buses while picking up and dropping off students. On this day, which will occur today, October 23rd, school districts and school bus companies across the state will record any illegal passes that occur on that day. Additionally, it is suggested that any locations where school buses are more susceptible to having these passes occur are reported to local law enforcement.


We are very fortunate that the Upper Dublin Police Department provides us with exceptional support in this area all year long. Historically, their presence is heightened on this day, which hopefully drives the message home to our community.


What can you do to help? If you see a motorist illegally pass a school bus try to record these facts:


  • Vehicle Description
  • Driver Description
  • License Plate Number (partial plate will help)
  • Time and Location of the incident


If you witness an incident occur in our Township please pass this information along to me via email using the form linked below or contact the Upper Dublin Police Department directly.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dg_GRuo7fBYVx0dSLbprjVsHQu0YknZ7TR8JGIxXf2k/edit?usp=sharing


Please note: Taking a picture will not help unless it is of the vehicle passing and the school bus with either the flashing lights on, stop sign out or crossing arm out and you have a clear picture of the driver or the license plate.

How We Determine Bus Stop Locations

When determining the existence of bus stops and if they are serving the community and the students we must take into consideration the following:


  • Location

    • Is it a neutral location, meaning it will not be a hardship for neighbors

    • Is it accessible for all students in the neighborhood to safely walk there in a reasonable and timely manner

    • Is the stop likely to be there for a long period of time without having to change it

    • Is it no further than the district specified 2 miles for High School, 1.5 miles Middle School and 1 mile Elementary School

  • Safety

    • Is there a safe location for the students to stand and wait

    • Is there enough room for the bus to stop and will there be enough room for other motorists to stop safely and not encroach the bus while picking up/dropping off students

    • Is there enough visibility for motorists to see not only the bus stopped, but students waiting/crossing when approaching the stop

    • Is the bus stop located on a route that PennDOT has defined as a hazardous route


Another factor that we must consider is whether or not there is a stop within close proximity to the stop being serviced for the same school. If there is and all of these other factors are met we need to consider the impact that keeping and/or removing one of the stops will have on the students. In that case it is more likely that the stop that negatively impacts the least amount of students may be removed.


Finally, it is important to note that stop addition/removal at one level may not impact the stop at the other levels.

Understanding District Policies

I wanted to highlight some of the District policies regarding transportation all of which are posted on the District website, either on the Transportation Page or under Board Policy 810.



  • Students must arrive to bus stops at least five (5) minutes prior to the scheduled bus stop time
  • As it pertains to the items that students are allowed to bring onto the bus, it must be able to fit safely on their lap or be tucked away under the seat
  • Students are not permitted on school vehicles with the following musical instruments: baritone sax, baritone horn, bass trombone, cello, drums, electric bass, electric piano, marimba, mellophonium, sousaphone, string bass, tuba, vibraharp, xylophone, and amplifier system
  • All kindergarten and special education students with limited independence must be met by a parent/guardian at the bus stop
  • Food or drink is not permitted on the bus

Routing Software

Many of the reasons that we implemented new routing software was covered during our September 16th Town Hall and the documents that were released to the public shortly afterwards. Having this software is important for many reasons:


  • Improving route efficiency
  • Addressing safety concerns once, rather than having to review year after year
  • Allows us the opportunity to review capacity with a reduced margin of human error
  • Ability to work with GPS software to compare real-time data and estimated data
  • Future capability to provide parents/guardians with an application to gain busing information
  • Ability to predict and prepare changes to transportation in advance instead of having to wait for the registration period to end
  • Ability to utilize the software to provide more accurate data when State Reporting

What to do when your student goes home with a friend?

We understand the need for students to go home with other students on occasion, whether it be for childcare reasons or preparing for a group project. In the past, each building has had their own process, but we need to streamline this process across the District. Starting immediately it's important that we use the form available at the following link:


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z89GdUcjiezldw41FxP5fRqgfQJa3w5kaufNO2TiWNE/edit?usp=sharing


When sending your student home with another or having your student bring home a friend, a note from each parent/guardian that is signed by a school official is required or the student will not be permitted to board and will have to go home on their regularly assigned bus. Hand written notes on other papers or emails to the school and/or transportation office will no longer be accepted.

Transportation Department Chain of Responsibility Chart

When calling the transportation department it is important to know who should be contacted depending on the needs that you have. Please use this chart to determine who to contact. If you are not satisfied with the results that you receive please contact the Director of Transportation.


Cindy Ebner

Transportation Clerk

cebner@udsd.org

(215) 646-7778

  • Dispatching Daily Work to Substitute Drivers


Rita Kenny

Executive Administrative

Assistant to the Director

of Transportation

rkenny@udsd.org

(215) 646-7778


  • Assistant to both the Transportation Manager & Director of Transportation



Tim Behan

Transportation Manager

tbehan@udsd.org

(215) 646-7778


  • Routing
  • Training



Chris Robbins

Director of Transportation

crobbins@udsd.org

(215) 646-7778

On Twitter: @UpperDubDoT


  • Supervise Department
  • Bus Stop Safety Investigations

First Ever "Lunchtime Stroll" with the Director of Transportation, Chris Robbins

Wednesday, Nov. 20th, 11am-12:30pm

This is an online event.

This event will be a Facebook Live Event held on the District's Facebook Page. This is an opportunity to have your questions answered by completing the survey at the end of this newsletter. The duration of the event may change due to the number of responses received, however it will not last more than the hour and a half allotted.