GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) -- Dean Transportation is planning to hold its second Town Hall of the 2023-24 school year.

The town hall will be Thursday, February 22, from 6-8 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation located at 1530 Madison Ave. SE.

This will be an opportunity for scholars, parents and caregivers to speak directly with leaders of Dean Transportation and Grand Rapids Public Schools about their experience with transportation.

"It is very important to engage with our community," said Dean Transportation Regional Operations Manager Kevin Harkness. "They are the people that we serve and we want to make sure we are giving the best service possible. These meetings allow us to get a gauge of what the community is experiencing."

Dean Transportation is offering shuttle buses to help families attend the town hall. Buses will depart Ottawa Hills High School and City High Middle School at 5:40 p.m. Buses will also shuttle families back to Ottawa Hills High School and City High Middle School following the town hall.

Since the last town hall in October, GRPS has worked with Dean Transportation on multiple initiatives to help improve service.

In November, Dean Transportation started providing the district with on-time performance metrics and staffing levels. The data is updated monthly and can be viewed on the Reimagine GRPS Dashboard

In December, Dean Transportation relaunched ZPass. The service provides cards for scholars to scan when they board and exit the bus. Using the free ZPass app, parents and caregivers can receive a notification every time their child scans the card.

Dean Transportation has set up a hotline for anyone who needs help setting up ZPass accounts. Those needing assistance can call (616) 819-3000 and select option 2. There are also step-by-step instructions here

To start 2024, the new GRPS Transportation Advisory Council was launched. The group of parents and caregivers will meet monthly with leaders from Dean Transportation and GRPS to provide feedback on new initiatives and overall service.

"We are committed to Reimagining transportation, and providing our families with the service they deserve,” GRPS Superintendent Dr. Leadriane Roby said. "We are working hard to implement new strategies that those we serve will notice.”