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Waco ISD students double usage of Waco Transit Bus System

WACO, TX (November 30, 2023)--The number of Waco ISD students boarding City of Waco Transit System buses has more than doubled year-over-year since the start of the 2023-2024 school year. Ridership climbed to 1,237 riders in August as compared to 836 riders the previous year, 1,755 riders in September as compared to 802 the year before, and hit an all-time high of 2,504 student riders in October as compared to 1,087 in 2022. All Waco ISD students may ride Waco Transit System's fixed-route buses free of charge by simply showing their student IDs, thanks to a contract between the school district and Waco Transit System.

 

Dr. Susan Kincannon said the rides don't replace the traditional bus system but do provide more options for students traveling to and from school and throughout the city.

 

“Our students are able to take advantage of the Waco Transit System to not only ride to and from school, but they also can ride the buses to access extracurricular opportunities offered in Waco ISD including fine arts, athletics, and after school or Saturday tutoring to get to and from their respective schools,” Kincannon said. “It also provides transportation for our students who work after school and on weekends, filling some of the many job vacancies in Waco. This partnership is another terrific example of the City of Waco and Waco ISD working together for the betterment of our community.”

 

Waco ISD began its partnership with the Waco Transit System in 2013 with discounted rates. In May 2021, WISD approved an interlocal cooperative agreement with the City of Waco/WTS to provide Fixed Route Bus Transportation services to any WISD student showing a valid student ID card at no cost to the student. In the 2021-2022 school year, 8,444 students took advantage of the free rides. 

 

The 2022-2023 school year saw a 62 percent jump in student ridership with 13,526 students boarding city buses. In just the first quarter of this school year, nearly 5,500 students boarded city buses, more than a third of the total for the entire year last year. 

 

Waco Transit System General Manager Serena M. Stevenson said the relationship with Waco ISD helps to reduce the inequities and disparities in how students commute to school. 

 

“It shows how the beauty of partnerships work to create interventions that increase school transportation options and allows the additional benefit of utilizing Waco Transit System before and after school, as well as weekends, to bridge transportation gaps they may experience,” Stevenson said.  

 

Waco ISD has contracted free bus services for students through August 31, 2026. The cost of this year’s contract is $17,000. The contracted rate climbs to $18,000 in the 2024-2025 and in the 2025-2026 school year with expected increases in student ridership.

 

All Waco fixed-route buses can be tracked in real-time at RideWaco.com.

 

All Waco ISD middle and high school students receive student identification cards through their campuses. Parents of elementary students should contact their children's campuses to request free student IDs. All students must present their IDs to ride for free.