Approximately 2,600 additional Anne Arundel County Public Schools students impacted by out-of-service bus routes this year will get relief early next month when passenger vans acquired through emergency procurement contracts are put into service.

The Board of Education approved the contracts at its November 16, 2022, meeting. The vans will begin transporting students with special needs to non-public schools they attend throughout the region, allowing the buses and their CDL-licensed drivers to service general and magnet routes within the county. A CDL license is not required to drive the passenger vans, though drivers must possess a clean driving record and pass all State and AACPS certifications and background checks.

Credit: Anne Arundel County Schools

Details on specific routes impacted are still being finalized. Still, the buses can be used to provide routes that currently have partial service with full service or to full or partial-service to routes currently without any service.

Twenty-one of the vans will be put into service on December 5, 2022, with the remaining three following a week later. The plan calls for buses to address some general and magnet routes in the Annapolis, Broadneck, North County, and Old Mill clusters and to potentially remedy all out-of-service general and magnet routes in the Meade cluster. Single routes in other clusters also may be positively impacted.

This is the second enhancement to transportation services this semester. In October, 37 school bus routes across the county that had been consistently out of service began offering partial service to students as part of a realignment of routing that allowed buses to add either morning or afternoon routes to their schedules.

Families will be notified of impacted routes the week of November 28, 2022. The van contracts expire at the end of this school year. AACPS is also preparing a Request for Bids for 40 vans to service students in the 2023-2024 school year and has plans for additional bidding requests to add approximately 25 to 30 vans over the next five years. The school system also examines the possibility of using used vans to make additional enhancements.

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