After opening the Peninsula home-to-school route during the 2012-13 school year, Harker has further expanded its bus services for families in need of more transportation options.
The new Silver Creek route consists of two buses servicing the Silver Creek area. The middle and upper school bus first arrives at the Union Ave. preschool campus to connect to the intracampus shuttle, which then takes students to the middle and upper schools. Lower school students take a separate bus to the preschool, which then takes them to the lower school.
“The Bucknall parents, obviously, are thrilled about that, because their kids get to stay on the bus and go straight to campus which is what they’ve always wanted,” said Greg Lawson, assistant head of school for student affairs.
Continuing from last year, the Peninsula route makes stops at the middle and lower school campuses, with connections to the preschool and upper school campuses via the intracampus shuttle. “We really try to make sure we have a path for every child to get to every place,” Lawson said.
Additionally, the Union campus now serves as a hub for the intracampus shuttle, which allows families a way to transport students to Harker’s other three campuses via the preschool. “The opening of Union as a hub on the intracampus shuttle has actually served some of those Almaden families who are now dropping off kids there,” Lawson said.
The new routes make student transportation more convenient for Harker families whose parents live or work in areas that are out of the way. It also helps reduce traffic in the area around Harker’s campuses, lightening the traffic burden on the families who commute by car. Lawson estimated that between 70 and 80 students ride buses to school. “Maybe that’s 50 cars that don’t have to come to campus,” he said, factoring in the possibility of several families containing siblings. “Then if you add the folks that are using the intracampus shuttle, it’s reducing some more.”
This year, Harker also assumed management of the Fremont route, which had previously been run for years by a consortium of Harker parents. It stops at the lower, middle and upper school campuses and is also the only route that offers school-to-home service because of the complex nature of Harker’s afternoon schedule. Consideration may be given to opening additional school-to-home routes when there is more demand.
Harker may also look into adding more home-to-school routes if demand for them increases. “The fun part of getting started last year was that we had other people start chomping at the bit,” said Lawson. “We’re amenable to any area that can sustain it. We do it as a service, but we’ve got to be fiscally responsible.”