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Booking a school bus ride in Northampton proves to be not so easy

To the editor:

I am writing in regards to the most “joyful” moment I had recently. My wife had recently called City Hall in Northampton. Her call was about Northampton school bus passes.

She was rudely informed that the children’s packets were mailed out earlier in the summer and that if we didn’t get it we should take it up with the post office. Well, this made her day so very joyful. Shortly thereafter, she told me of her encounter, so I went to the Northampton school department and inquired about the situation.

I spoke with a very nice gentleman who was filling in there. His normal job was driving a bus. I said to myself, this can’t be the person my wife spoke with, for he was kind and considerate. He treated me the way I would treat someone, with courtesy and respect. I filled out the form needed and paid $101 as the first of three payments for my child to ride a public school bus to and from school.

I was informed that the pass wouldn’t be ready for 48 hours. I was fine with that. I returned to City Hall on my lunch break to find that the same man was there. He was the same as before, very nice. I picked up my daughter’s pass and went on my way. Low and behold, on the bottom of the form, it stated that her bus would pick her up at Ryan Road and Acrebrook Drive. This bus stop is close to a half-mile from our house. The bus stop used before was 400 feet from our house. So I called the transportation department and asked an employee there if there is a current bus stop directory for the Northampton school system. I was then asked, “What is your question?”

I proceeded to explain our situation and was informed that because we filed our pass information late, there were no spots on the first bus so this is all we have. I asked if there was any way to have this corrected and was told, in a manner I wouldn’t use if my salary was paid by the person on the other end of the phone.

I have realized that property, local sales and excise taxes are paying the salary of someone I wouldn’t have on any payroll of mine. I thought I was was at the Registry of Motor Vehicles back in the 1990s.

I hope a review of bus scheduling considers the safety of all children who have to walk a great distance on a snow-filled morning. They should not be subjected to walking in the road to avoid sidewalks that are not shoveled, risking cars skidding out of control.

We as a community, who pay for school bus transportation, should be able to have input into where the stops are and who rides which bus.

Tom Venne

Florence

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