Marlborough to seek another vendor to fill school bus gaps

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Marlborough to seek another vendor to fill school bus gaps
A school bus sits in near Solomon Pond mall. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

MARLBOROUGH – In response to an ongoing problem of not enough buses for its students, Marlborough Public Schools (MPS) has decided to find another vendor to help fill the gaps.

During its meeting on Nov. 14, the School Committee voted to authorize another company to help transport students to and from school.

According to Tom Lafleur, MPS director of finance and operations, the current vendor, NRT, is covering only 29 of the 33 routes under contract.

“It’s no big secret – we’ve had trouble with NRT,” said Lafleur. “NRT has not been able to staff a minimum of four routes on a daily basis and many more on any given day. They have proven to be unresponsive and a less-than-responsible vendor for this entire school year.”

RELATED CONTENT: Marlborough schools demand full coverage of bus routes by NRT

According to Superintendent Mary Murphy, some students are arriving 30 minutes late and not heading home until one hour after dismissal. This has not only put stress on students, but for parents as well. It’s also affecting school budgets, with staff working additional hours to supervise students after school.

Murphy’s comments were part of a statement issued on Nov. 9. Marlborough Public Schools, along with Framingham Public Schools and Advanced Math and Science Academy in Marlborough, are demanding that NRT fulfill its part of the contract and provide coverage for all routes.

In late October, MPS sent a letter to NRT demanding the vendor fulfill its agreement. According to Lafleur, NRT had until Monday, Nov. 20, to respond.

The School Committee decided to table a proposal to begin a search for a new transportation vendor, pending a response from NRT.

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