The Cohoes City School District is considering providing CDTA swipe cards to all students in grades 6-12 beginning in the 2017-18 school year. The cost to provide swipe cards to the roughly 960 eligible students is an estimated $127,500. This includes four new CDTA buses transporting students on three newly developed school routes, as well routing software and the necessary technology to issue passes. About $20,000 of the total amount would be reimbursed by state aid to cover the 50 students who live more than a mile and a half from their school building.
The proposed plan would allow middle and high school students a safe and convenient way to get to and from school using city buses. Students could also use their bus pass to get to work, an internship or go on a class field trip in the Greater Capital Region.
The district recently completed a transportation study at all of its school buildings to measure traffic volume and flow, gauge arrival and dismissal procedures and identify student safety concerns. A copy of the report can be found here [PDF].
The Board of Education and district administrators requested feedback from the community via an online survey open for two weeks, from March 22 to April 5. A summary of the results and a copy of the full report are below.
The Cohoes City School District Board of Education is considering providing CDTA swipe passes to all students in grades 6-12 so that students in middle and high school have a safe and reliable way to get to and from school every day. To help guide decision-making, the Board of Education and district administration called on Cohoes residents to complete an online survey to provide feedback on whether the service would be used regularly and also whether taxpayers would support the initiative.
The online survey was open to constituents from Wednesday, March 22 until Wednesday, April 5 (2 weeks). At the April 29 Board of Education meeting, representatives from CDTA presented an overview of how the service would work for students in Cohoes, as well as preliminary planning for three school routes specifically added to transport students. That presentation can be viewed online here: CDTA presentation to Cohoes community.
During the two week period 498 people took the survey.
Question 1 - Demographics
10 people of the 498 skipped the first question about demographics.
Respondents were asked to choose one of the following four groups: middle school student, high school students, parent of a student, or resident with no students in the district.
Three percent (16) were middle school students, nine percent (43) were high school students, 54 percent (264) were parents and 34 percent (165) were residents with no children in the district.
The last group, residents with no children in the district were asked to jump to question 7, as questions 2-6 were specific to students and parents and the likelihood they would use CDTA transportation as a safe and reliable way to get to and from school.
Question 2 - Most often, how do you/your children get TO school?
341 respondents answered this question and 157 skipped it. This is expected, as 165 people who identified as residents with no children in the district were asked to skip the question (indicating that some people in this group responded to the question anyway).
The responses indicate that more than half (57 percent) of students are dropped off by a parent or guardian in the morning. A quarter of students (25 percent) walk to school. Six percent of students already ride CDTA to school in the morning, two percent ride with a friend/another parent and two percent drive themselves.
Only one respondent said they bike to school in the morning and 16 respondents indicated other modes of transportation. These respondents were asked to specify and most indicated they don’t have children in the district (indicating the eight respondents who were asked to move on to question 7 answered questions 2-6).
Question 3 - Most often, how do you/your children get home FROM school?
Fewer respondents (335) answered this question indicating greater accuracy of responses. 163 of the 165 who were asked to jump to question 7 (due to identifying as not having children in the district) did skip question 3.
The responses indicate that fewer students (44 percent) picked up by a parent or guardian in the afternoon. More students (33 percent) walk home from school in the afternoon, rather than walk to school in the morning. Seven percent of students ride CDTA home from school in the afternoon, five percent ride with a friend/another parent and two percent drive themselves.
No respondents indicated they bike home from school in the afternoon and 19 respondents indicated other modes of transportation home. These respondents were asked to specify, and again, many indicated they don’t have children in the district. Other responses indicated a grandparent, friend or special education bus transport occurs.
Question 4 - Do you/your children miss school because of transportation issues?
328 respondents answered this question. 170 skipped the question.
61 percent of respondents indicated that they/their child does not miss school due to transportation issues. Of those respondents who did consider transportation to be a factor in school attendance, 17 percent indicated transportation issues affect attendance regularly and 22 percent said transportation issues affect attendance sometimes.
Question 5 - If more CDTA bus routes were added in the City of Cohoes for students in grades 6-12, would you use the city bus to get to and from school on a regular basis?
331 responses were recorded. 167 respondents skipped the question.
179 people (54 percent) indicated they would use the city bus to get to and from school on a regular basis. Another 46 people (14 percent) said they were unsure. 32 percent indicated they would not use the bus on a regular basis.
Question 6 - If you/your child would not use CDTA regularly, under what circumstances would you/your child use CDTA transportation?
This time, only 272 people responded to the question. Of those who chose to provide feedback:
43 percent said they would use CDTA if regular transportation was unavailable. 36 percent said they would use CDTA in bad weather. 27 percent of respondents indicated they would not use CDTA buses under any circumstance and 17 percent said they would use CDTA seasonally. Nine percent of respondents indicated ‘other, please specify:’ These comments include families who live so close to the school there would be no need to use the bus, as well as students who are currently in the elementary grades and so would not benefit until the future.
Question 7 - I would support the Cohoes City School District providing CDTA bus passes to all students in grades 6-12.
Only 5 respondents chose to skip this question.
73 percent (361 people) said that YES they would support the district providing CDTA bus passes to students in grades 6-12. The other 27 percent (132 people) said NO they would not support the initiative.
Question 8 - Please provide any additional thoughts you have regarding transportation for students in the Cohoes City School District.
This open-ended response question was answered by 210 people. All of the comments, questions and thoughts can be read beginning on page 8 of the raw survey results data found here: