BOSTON The city of Boston is introducing new safety measures as younger students begin riding the MBTA to school instead of buses.
This year about 2,100 eighth graders will join the 15,000 high school students who already ride public transit to school each day.
The change is part of a cost-cutting measure passed by the Boston City Council in June. School officials say it will save the district about $2 million.
Mayor Marty Walsh says safety teams conducted reviews last spring ahead of the transition, walking to and from middle schools with students to identify and improve safety obstacles on their commutes.
Fifty guides will also be positioned at key T stations through September to help students find their way.
“This is a great learning experience for young people to learn about responsibility,” Mayor Walsh said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “And I think oftentimes we don’t give our young people enough credit for doing the things that they do in the city of Boston.”
Yellow buses will still be provided to those in lower grades, but sixth and seventh graders can now opt to take public transit.
Also new this year, student’s T passes can now be used seven days a week, rather than the previous five.