Archive for Thursday, August 23, 2007

Crowded buses prompt reconfigured routes

August 23, 2007

The bus ride to school might be a little more cramped for some students in De Soto USD 232.

Some parents have contacted the district concerned that the buses were too crowded, said Jack Deyoe, director of operations and planning. Laidlaw, the company the district uses for bus services, also has said the buses are too full, Deyoe said.

As many as three students can sit on one bus seat according to state law. However, Deyoe said that becomes more difficult on the buses running the middle and high schools routes because the students are larger.

"At the high school level, that is not a good idea, so we attempt to go two to a seat," he said.

Most of the crowding is happening on the east side of the district, where there is a high concentration of students in a small area, Deyoe said.

One of the causes for crowding at the secondary level is the unpredictability of how frequently the high school students will ride the buses, Deyoe said.

Many of teens will get rides to school with friends or start driving to school themselves, he said.

"By the springtime, a lot of kids at the high school level are too cool to ride," Deyoe said.

Another cause for crowding is children riding the bus who haven't paid for the service or who paid late and are supposed to wait until after Labor Day to ride, Deyoe said.

Each year, the district reconfigures bus routes after Sept. 1 to address crowding issues and to serve students who signed up late for bus service.

This year will be no different. Deyoe said the district will be making changes, but said he is not yet sure if those changes will be just route reconfiguration or if the district will have to add another bus to service the area. Another bus for a school route would cost the district $210 per day, Deyoe said.

Although crowding is an issue now, everything should be straightened out when students return to class after Labor Day weekend, Deyoe said.

"These are things that we do every fall," he said "That's just kind of things we deal with as we go."

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