Rome City Schools is facing a daunting task after a Georgia Department of Transportation audit said they can no longer use the city’s buses for student transportation.

RCS have been using the Rome Transportation Department to transport students for over a quarter century.

According to Assistant City Manager Patrick Edison, “We have not been operating the tripper service within FTA guide-lines, and as the result we have to transition out or find a third-party contractor”.

According to the transportation department the schools use 26 buses to transport its students.

The report stated:

The Georgia DOT Transit office conducted a compliance monitoring program audit with staff from the city of Rome Transit Department (RTD) and Finance Department. Under area 8 – Charter and School Bus services, the auditor recommended ending Tripper services. The auditor concluded RTD was operating an exclusive school bus service and by guidelines we must operate Tripper Services along our mainline bus service routes with only minimum variation (de minimus) to our mainline service routes.

· RTD has operated Tripper Bus Service for over 30 years and never received a negative finding regarding the operation of Tripper services or route structure;

· Ending Tripper Services will severely affect our community service partner – Rome City Schools and city of Rome taxpayers. A very expensive alternative to providing safe school transportation to students will be needed to provide school bus services;

 · City of Rome is willing to work with FTA and GDOT to find a solution to continue operating Tripper bus service and have been in communication with GDOT officials and staff; we are working to complete a Transit Development Plan (TDP) in 2019 to address concerns regarding tripper service routes and overall transit service efficiency;

· If change is necessary the community would ask for a transition period to be established as the expense of providing school bus transportation without FTA funding would be detrimental to local taxpayers.