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CMS begins controversial shuttle stop bus program

The first day of class for some Charlotte-Mecklenburg students means a new routine.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The first day of class for some Charlotte-Mecklenburg students means a new routine.

Any middle or high school student that attends a magnet school must use a shuttle stop to get back and forth from school if they want to use CMS bus transportation.

CMS Superintendent Dr. Peter Gorman was at one of the locations Wednesday morning to make sure everything went smoothly.

We go from stop to sprint on one day. We transported no children to school yesterday, and today we're going to transport 100,000 kids, he said.

Though not every student is using the shuttle service, there were at least 120 students that used it at the East Mecklenburg High School location. Parents are asked to bring their students to their assigned shuttle stop 10 to 15 minutes before the departure time, which varies by location.

The students are brought to their magnet school and returned at the end of the day. School officials say parents must pick up their children within 10 minutes of being dropped off or the child could lose shuttle bus privileges.

The transportation system change is expected to save about $3.5 million for the school district this year. However, some parents say it's expensive to travel roundtrip to a shuttle location.

The gas is high, said Johnette Foday, whose daughter is using the shuttle bus. It's going to cost me more than $40 for two weeks.

Despite concerns, some students say they prefer the new system since it gives them more time to sleep.

I don't have to wake up as early, said one student as he entered his shuttle bus.

Gorman says he understands that this system may put a strain on parents. However, he says it's necessary because of the budget cuts CMS is facing. Gorman says he plans on implementing any necessary improvements to the shuttle system in the next few weeks.

One thing we'll try to do with the first day is see if we have to do any inline improvements. [We're looking for] ways we can do it better, he said.

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