In a strong response to the ongoing problem of youth disturbances at the new Regional Transit Center, the Regional Transit Service and the Rochester City School District will significantly reduce the number of students who will be able to stop downtown and transfer buses. Concerns about student and customer safety and customer satisfaction are cited as the main reasons for the changes, which will occur in two phases.
About 1,600 students pass through the transit center in the morning and again in the afternoon, RTS CEO Bill Carpenter said at a press event earlier today. In the first phase, which is already under way, RTS began providing many of those students with RTS Express Service, which means they don't have to stop downtown anymore.
The first phase focuses on students attending All City High, Charlotte, East, Edison, Franklin, Monroe, Northeast and Northwest, School of the Arts, and Wilson Commencement.
When the changes are fully implemented on Monday, May 4, about 2,100 students will bypass the Transit Center in total. Phase two impacts students who attend Rochester Career Mentoring, School 58, University Prep, and Rochester Early College. They will use the RTS Express Service, too.
The plan will accommodate students who need transportation to after-school activities, college study programs, and activities between multiple campuses. RTS provides transportation to roughly 9,000 students, and about half will use the Express Service when both phases of the plan are implemented.
School district safety and security officials are also collaborating with Rochester police officers at the transit center during school dismissal times. District safety personnel are paired with the officers, because the district people often have relationships with the students, and they are there to offer students guidance.
Carpenter, who was accompanied by Rochester Schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas at this morning press conference, said that changes are necessary because even though only a small number of students get into fights, that managing a large crowd of students at one time is too difficult, even with the support of security and district officials.
Vargas said that the majority of students behave well at the transit center, but that the district needs to support families to instill high expectations of good behavior at home, in school, and on the street.