On any given day in downtown Rochester, large groups of students can be seen hanging out on the streets.
"We're dealing with young people who have a certain amount of freedom here," said Mayor Tom Richards, D-Rochester.
At times, those groups become unruly. Recently, fights were reported, and even an incident involving gunshots fired near the Liberty Pole.
"A student firing a gun should be something which the entire community should be outraged – if it was a police officer fired a gun, or teacher that fired a gun people would be up in arms, they would be marching in the streets," said School Board President Malik Evans.
Richards says these incidents have forced the city to post 39 police officers downtown and another 12 resource officers on overtime from the schools.
"We cannot and should not be providing that kind of resource downtown in order to maintain order," said Richards.
In an attempt to help with the large number of students congregating downtown, a new bus pass system will be put in place on Friday.
"Providing transportation system and us proving bus service is a privilege; it is not a right," said Evans.
The new pass will require more students to take express routes directly from neighborhoods to district schools and students who need to transfer downtown will be receiving a timed connection pass requiring them to catch the next bus in minutes.
There are also two other passes that will be distributed for those who need to make additional stops for work or after school activities, but members from RTS say the students need to go to the principal and tell them exactly what the need is for them to get this pass.
"There will be a gold pass that's introduced for those students that are in programs that need to go from either work assignments or other school programs throughout the day. We will make available a 2+2 activity pass. This allows a student two rides within two hours so that students that do have destinations to get to will not have an open ended access to the system but we are changing it so they have limited use but they can get to those activities," said RGRTA CEO Bill Carpenter.
Evans says it is unfortunate that they have to make these changes. He says he does not feel it will solve the cities problems.
"This is just a band aid. It's not going to solve the problem. It's not the school district's job, the city's job, the bus systems job to raise kids – it's the communities job," said Evans.
"It's a social danger that we are engaging in and tolerate it or try to stop it with policemen, that's a real cost its a real social cost and of course there is a cost to downtown," said Richards.
Richards says if this new system doesn't work, they will continue to work to find a better solution.