Bartlett regulates unscheduled bus drop-offs

Despite a largely trouble-free drop-off of migrants at its Metra station on Christmas Eve, Bartlett has belatedly joined the list of suburbs regulating unscheduled arrivals of buses from Texas.

On Tuesday, trustees voted 5-1 to create a requirement of five days’ notice for buses outside normally scheduled routes dropping off passengers without prearranged provisions like food, shelter and other resources. The drivers also must be able to show written approval from the police chief for their stops.

The new regulations will expire automatically at the end of the year, but it can be revisited before then.

Village officials had no immediate intention to create a new policy after about 60 migrants were dropped off at the Bartlett Metra station on Christmas Eve. The arrivals already had train tickets to Chicago and were in the village for only about 15 minutes before they boarded.

The only action required by village officers was to open the station so that the migrants could use the restrooms and warm up, and to alert officials in Chicago of their arrival.

Though that remains the only visit Bartlett has received, Village Administrator Paula Schumacher said officials began considering a more proactive stance after hearing of an increasing number of arrivals in suburbs including Elmhurst and Naperville.

The village board, however, also was made aware that the city of Chicago is being sued in federal court by the bus company Wynne Transportation LLC. The suit alleges that the city’s restrictions on arrivals interfere with interstate commerce and discriminate against certain kinds of bus passengers.

Though Chicago’s status as a declared sanctuary city may also have played a role in the lawsuit, Bartlett Trustee Adam Hopkins said he intended to vote against the regulation due to the potential for litigation.

Hopkins said that in light of the village’s earlier experience with a bus drop-off, there were better things for it to be spending money on than defending a lawsuit. He cast the sole dissenting vote Tuesday.

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