Westporters are gathering at the Norwalk Transit District for a pubic hearing concerning the FTA's decision to nix the after-school bus service. Today is the final step in the town's appeal.
"It is certainly a big inconvenience for the service not to be there. I just want to make sure it's continued," said one parent.
With schools starting just yesterday in the town of Westport, there is an urgency to find a solution to this conflict. Today's hearing gave parents and town officials the opportunity to include their comments in a waiver that will be submitted to the federal government.
"This is really causing just a terrible hardship for parents," said Jennifer Johnson. "We were completely blind-sided."
You see, for years the Westport Transit District operated a bus transporting students from their schools to a number of activities throughout the town. But that changed about a month ago when the Federal Transit Administration ruled that the route was an unauthorized use of public funds.
This hearing is the last step in the waiver process, or an application to show the federal government that there is no alternative to the Westport Transit District’s after-school bus seruvce.
If the waiver gets successfully submitted to the federal government, the town hopes to restore the service until January.
“But what I’m looking for is that we could actually get it for the full school year, so that we could get the SWRPA bus study and form a committee so that we can get this service into compliance,” said Jennifer Johnson.
But, even with this waiver submitted to the government – there is no guarantee the service will be restored. Right now, up to 162 students remain impacted each year.