“The drivers are already very busy driving the bus safely and managing riders,” he wrote in his report.
Committee member Brandi Carpenter, referring to a follow-up letter from Sliva, said it all comes down to speculation. “We really can’t say at this point what the outcome will be of a one-way bus pass.”
Carpenter said the district could make money if enough parents who don’t buy passes now sign up. She added that the program has worked in other districts, such as Beverly, and is a “wonderful service for parents.”
Keniston then offered a compromise, acknowledging there does appear to be a demand for the service. “It’s all speculation. Why not cut to the chase and do this experimentally for a year? ... After a year of experience we’ll decide whether we want to continue or not, and we’ll have the revenue to count or not to count.”
Superintendent Joe Mastrocola supported the proposal and thinks they should take it a step further.
“I think we should talk about this during the budget process,” he said. “...If anything, I think we should expand the discussion to talk about potentially not having bus fees at all.”
The committee voted unanimously to approve the trial for one-way bus passes and to set a fee this spring during budget talks.
You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.