Buses transporting Boston Public Schools (BPS) students have been arriving and departing late since the first day of the new school year on Sept. 5, leaving some students to wait over three hours in certain circumstances.

While many short-term solutions have been proposed, like hiring additional drivers and bus monitors, Paul Reville, former Massachusetts education secretary, said he thinks the root of the problem can be traced to BPS having a registration system rather than preset assigned schools.

Reville joined Boston Public Radio on Wednesday to discuss the BPS home-based school choice plan's entanglement with chronically delayed buses.

"Maybe we're tackling the wrong problem here," he said. "If we look at what we're trying to accomplish with school of choice, and busing everyone around town, maybe it's time to ask if we'll ever get the algorithm that distributes people to choice schools right."

Instead of having to bus students across the city to high-ranking schools, the school system needs to ensure that quality schools are accessible to every neighborhood, Reville said.

"Isn't equity really about having a school in your neighborhood that you believe is a quality school? Rather than having an expensive game of musical chairs played out with buses that distribute people all over the city in the name of getting people to quality schools," he said.

It's time to consider the long-term issues rather than the short-term issues of delayed buses, Reville added.

"If they aren't all quality schools, somebody has to land in those poorer schools, and who's it going to be? Those who don't benefit from the choice system,"he said. "So I think it's time Boston stood up to this. There's got to be a better way than this."

Reville is a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, where he also runs the Education Redesign Lab. His latest book, co-authored with Elaine Weiss, is "Broader, Bolder, Better: How Schools and Communities Help Students Overcome the Disadvantages of Poverty."