BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Subscription Busing is coming to the township, but those who want to sign up for it have to do so between March 1 and March 16.

The administration approved moving ahead with the service. Parents interested in applying for the service will find applications on the website beginning March 1.

School Business Administrator Donna Felezzola and District Transportation Coordinator Kelly Sheehan gave the history and current status of the subscription busing program at the Feb. 22 meeting of the Board of Education. Watch some of the discussion on the video. 

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The quest for subscription busing first came up during the fall. Results of a parent survey were reported in January and showed there were 153 families with about 200 students interested in the service.

During the meeting, the board set the following requirements for providing the service:

·         Keeping arrival times for buses at Mary Kay McMillin the same in the afternoon;

·         Providing two buses to GL Athletics at the end of the day;

·         Having most bus stops within a quarter of a mile from the student’s home;

·         Keeping routes between 30 and 35 minutes;

·         Keeping bus service budget-neutral.

Those who apply for subscription busing are signing up for round-trip transportation between the student’s home and school, for the entire year. Students will not be dropped at a babysitters or other destination. 

Sheehan said the short time line for the application is related to the established timeline for contracting the next school year's bus services, which begins the next week.  Parents will be notified if their child will receive bus services by June 1 and the schedule will be set to parents during August.

A deposit of $150 will be due with the application. The estimated cost of the service is $700 to $850 per school year, per student. 

Empty spaces on existing routes will be filled, when possible, before new bus routes are added by the board. It may be the case that not everyone who applies will be approved for subscription busing because of the logistics involved. The time and date the application was filed will not determine who receives busing, said Board President Doug Reinstein.