Iowa City schools' 'pay-to-ride' busing begins next year

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Families with students in Iowa City schools will soon have the option to pay for busing.

This week, the Iowa City Community School Board voted unanimously in favor of the pay-to-ride system that will start at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year next fall.

The system will only be available along already existing bus routes and stops.

Program officials say busing is based on a, "space-available, time-available, first-come, first-served basis."

Students who live near their school are eligible.

Officials say the pay-to-ride option brought questioning after board members voted in January to eliminate discretionary, or free, busing that it offered to areas with traffic and safety concerns.

The new system will offer free busing to specified areas with transportation barriers.

Student fees for the pay-to-ride busing option is $518 per student, per year for round trips. Students with reduced lunch prices will have a reduced fee of $310 per student, per year for round trips. Students with free lunch will not be required to pay for busing.

No student guests will be allowed to ride along for free with pay-to-ride students.

Buses used specifically for special education students are also not eligible for the pay-to-ride option.

Families who are wanting the pay-to-ride option must submit an application to the Iowa City Community School District. The due date for these applications is on June 1, 2016.