The Traffix board, which has been working on developing a student transportation plan for the past two years, has hired Danville resident Aram Boyd as manager to make sure the program gets off to a solid start this fall.
"We are really excited to bring Aram on board," said Danville Transportation Director Tai Williams. Williams said the Traffix board sent out the proposal late last year to individuals they knew as well as advertising the position in transit periodicals.
They received three applications for the job. Williams said that Boyd offered a mix of talents and interests that made him a perfect fit for the position.
"He has a genuine enthusiasm for the program, and he was brimming with ideas on how to use school buses to address traffic congestion," explained Williams. "He also lives in Danville, has a child in the school district, and his wife works for the district. All of those components blended together to make the perfect candidate."
As program manager, Boyd will serve as the liaison between the parent community and the Traffix board.
"He'll field all the calls from parents, he'll review the routes, and see if there needs to be any amendments to them," Williams said.
Boyd has a long history in public transportation, having spent the last 10 years working for AC Transit, the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, which is responsible for nearly a quarter million riders per day. Boyd said he knew from reading the proposal that this new position with Traffix was a matter of finding the right job at the right time.
"I looked at it and really liked what they were doing. And it let me stay here in Danville and put my expertise to good use," Boyd said. "When I was working for AC Transit every day I was leaving my community to help provide transportation in someone else's community."
Since joining the program in February, Boyd has been working with the parent groups at the seven schools that will be served in the first phase of the transportation program.
"We had the funding for 19 buses, so we have to be really smart with our money," he stated.
The main question Boyd said he keeps hearing is when will the passes be available and how can parents get them. He said at this point everything is dependent on the school district. In order to provide the services at both the middle and elementary schools, the buses will have to use a tiered system, delivering the middle schoolers, then going back out and getting the elementary kids. In order to do so, the district needs to amend bell schedules to accommodate the roughly 45-minute gap needed in order to get back out, run the routes and pick up the second wave of students.
Boyd said once the schedules are amended, Traffix will be implementing a marketing campaign to let people know they can get the passes, and also the Web site will go live. The site will provide route maps and will enable parents to buy the passes.
He added that what he thinks is really selling the program is the buses themselves.
"I have a brand new fleet with the cleanest burning diesel engines on the market," he said. "Full lap and shoulder seatbelts for all the kids, a GPS system, video cameras on board and air conditioning. We've tried to put together a top shelf program for parents in this area."
Traffix is sponsored through Measure J tax funds and is designed to help alleviate congestion on the streets in the Danville/San Ramon area. The student transportation program is one of the first major initiatives for the agency.
The seven schools participating initially are Los Cerros Middle, Green Valley Elementary, Pine Valley Middle, Country Club Elementary, Walt Disney Elementary, with limited service to Vista Grande and Neil Armstrong elementary schools.