BRIDGE CITY, Texas — With the safety of students in mind, Bridge City Independent School District officials are making changes to their current route system.
District officials said Bridge City ISD transports more than 1,000 students on 13 routes to and from school daily. Over the last few years, the district's transportation service department has faced a few challenges.
"These challenges include the number of drivers needed to cover all routes on a daily basis, a steady increase in the number of students who ride the bus to and from school daily, and an increase in the time each route takes to complete," the district said in a release.
District officials also believe high school students and staff will soon have to deal with added traffic due to the Chevron Phillips project. They expect the issue to begin during the 2023-24 school year and last for the next few years.
"Due to shift change traffic added to the already high volume of traffic in front of the high school in the afternoon, allowing our staff and teen drivers to get home before the rush hour is the safest course of action," the district said in a release.
The challenges and interest in student safety prompted the district to complete a detailed transportation study. Through the study, officials determined Bridge City ISD will need to move from a two-tier route system to a three-tier route system.
Under the current two-tier system. elementary and intermediate students are on one tier and middle school and high school students are on a second tier. Elementary and intermediate students make up about two-thirds of the district's daily bus riders.
"The three-tier system will ensure all of the routes we have will be covered by our current full-time drivers," the district said in a release.
In a three-tier system, elementary will be one tier, intermediate will be a second tier, and middle school and high school will be a third tier.
Switching to a three-tier system, officials believe, will reduce the number of students on each bus, group similar-aged students together, and spread students more evenly over the three tiers.
Officials feel switching to a three-tier makes it necessary to adjust instructional start and end times. The start and end times for the 2023-24 school year will be:
- Tier 1-Middle and High School 7:15 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
- Tier 2-Elementary 7:55 a.m. - 3:25 p.m.
- Tier 3-Intermediate 8:35 a.m.- 4:05 p.m.
"We recognize that this is a significant change for our staff and community," the district said in a release. "Thank you in advance for understanding the need to make changes as we continue to provide the quality services and instruction for our growing population."
District officials said they will continue to explore ways to make the transition as smooth as possible. They expect detailed information including bus routes, stops, pick up and drop off times, and school opening times to be finalized and communicated soon.