WESTPORT, Conn. -- Norwalk Transit District buses will again run after-school routes in Westport starting Monday, Sept. 8, First Selectman Jim Marpe announced.
Three shuttles will operate on essentially the same routes as last year, Marpe said. They will pick up students at Westport schools and take them to various after-school programs as well as to the Family Y, the Westport Library, Toquet Hall and other downtown destinations.
The startup of the after-school service was in jeopardy because the Federal Transit Administration recently ruled that the manner in which the service was structured was not compliant with federal regulations and thus could not continue to operate this year.
Westport applied for, and was notified on Aug. 29 that it had received, a temporary exemption that allows the shuttle service to run until Jan. 1, 2015.
“We are very pleased that our diligence, and that of many others, in appealing to the Federal government was successful. Parents and after-school programs can be assured that their participating students’ transportation needs will be met until at least Jan. 1, 2015,” Marpe said.
“While this is a temporary reprieve for which we are grateful, we now need to plan for the longer term issue of what to do after Jan. 1.
"At that time we will likely lose access to the use of the federally funded buses and the federal operating funds, which covered approximately 60 percent of the service cost. This requires addressing the situation immediately from both an operational and fiscal perspective.”
Westport will create a temporary Selectman’s Advisory Committee on After-School Transportation, Marpe said. Transit District Co-Director Jennifer Johnson and Operations Director Dewey Loselle will co-chair the committee.
The rest of the committee will include representatives from the Board of Education, Board of Finance, RTM Finance and Transit Committees, After-School Program Directors, Citizens Transit Committee, Westport Transit Directors and parents, he said.
"I believe such a broad-based committee working with the NTD will be able to objectively analyze this situation and bring realistic recommendations to me on what course of action the town should pursue,” Marpe said.