Monday, October 4, 2010

Seriously, what's going on with District 150 buses?

From the Peoria Journal Star, October 4, 2010:

"A Peoria District 150 bus driver was cited for driving under the influence after veering off the road and hitting a pair of parked cars early Monday.

The bus was carrying 20 children. The driver and 13 students were transported to local hospitals for observation.

In addition to DUI, Gary H. Davis, 46, was ticketed for improper lane usage, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and driving on the sidewalk."

And here I was complaining that my son's District 150 bus was a half an hour late to pick him up today, thus making him 20 minutes late for school.

Oh, then there was the fact that the District 150 bus didn't even show up at his school to pick him up until 2:45 pm - 45 minutes after school had ended, and five minutes before I was halfway there to get him myself.

This is apparently where I should look on the bright side. At least his bus driver wasn't drunk. That we know of.

I don't really know the whole story here, so instead of just preaching what should be done, I'm going to ask for some explanation. At the beginning of the year, we were told that the bus routes were getting "ironed out" and we needed to be patient. The kids were going to be late until evidently some magical solution was to be implemented to make all the bus drivers hit their stops at the allocated times.

I thought my son's route was the lucky one - our first bus driver was spot on every day - up until last week. She's mysteriously disappeared - replaced by someone who drives looking at her address sheet in one hand and apparently at times talking on her cell phone in the other.

I understand there are glitches. I understand drivers need to get to know the routes. And I praise the dependable bus drivers who make very little yet put up with a lot every day. Hats off to them. But I think most parents have been pretty patient with District 150 and/or bus transportation in getting the kinks out. It's October, Guys. And part of the reason why the District changed the middle school times to a non-working-parent-friendly 7:25 am - 2:00 pm was to accommodate the bus schedules - to make them more efficient and less costly. OK, at what price now?

I'm lucky I don't have to take off for work before my son gets on the bus. I see kids standing at their stops alone and I wonder what they do when the bus doesn't show. And what about the kids who are supposed to be home at a certain time and don't show up? The only phone call I got was for my son, asking me to pick him up.

All I'm asking is this - I'm doing my part to get my 13-year old, bleary-eyed son out to the bus stop at 6:40 am every morning. The district or bus company or whoever is in charge of these people needs to do their part to be there to pick him up. And get him home safely, and on time. That's our agreement.

And I promise not to show up drunk at my stop if they promise to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. District 150 didn't even begin picking up our kids until the third week of school. They had their phones off the hook so they didn't have to answer questions or field complaints. When I marched out to Transportation headquarters they assured me it would be there the very next day. It wasn't. Every time they gave me a new time, it wouldn't show up. I e-mailed every board member and the Superintendent and finally got bus service the third week of school. With all the money we are paying in salaries, bonuses and relocation expenses for administrators, this is not acceptable. Reduce the number of Administrators and hire more and better drivers. Show of hands from District families who agree...


For those of you not commenting directly from a blog, the simplest way to leave a comment is to go to the "Comment as" dropdown menu and select Name/URL. Type in your name and don't worry about the URL.