Thomas Dale Bus Issue

Thomas+Dale+Bus+Issue

We’ve heard, we’ve seen, and we’ve gotten a first hand experience of the bus issues going on around Thomas Dale. So what’s been going on with transportation, and what is going on behind the scenes to fix it? Buses come in the morning and afternoon, arriving and departing far after they’re scheduled to. Understaffing is the reason to blame, despite our county’s efforts on hiring new drivers. With our bus drivers being overworked and having to make multiple trips, increasing the possibility of students being exposed to COVID, it is inevitable that issues will arise, including the amount of time it takes everyday to get students home. In previous years, our transportation time would be 20 minutes out of the day. That time has risen to a whopping 3 hours everyday that is spent on arrival and departure time alone. Many students stated that getting home almost 2 hours after school ends, despite there being 5 means of transportation at Thomas Dale.  These unknown leaving times can throw off everyone’s personal schedule outside of school, including the teachers.  They can no longer hold their after school meetings, as they’re all held up with helping students go home. We do not know when or how this issue will be resolved, but our principal, Dr. Jones, is working hard to keep calm and contain the craziness. 

Students waiting patiently for their bus to arrive. (Jayda E)

 

 A student whose personal life has been affected by this is Levi James (10). “I have to cut out certain activities after school, like practicing my instrument, so that I have time to work and rest as well.” says Levi.  A lot of other students also state they have less time to do work and chores while also going to bed at a reasonable time. 

Mr. Wright, a social studies teacher at Thomas Dale, says: “I’m only staying a little longer after, but honestly I just feel bad for the students waiting forever.” 

Crowded bus seats (Jayda E.)

 

Mrs. Chillian (librarian), states “The buses don’t affect me in the morning, but in the afternoon students come to the library and wait there till the buses come. Which can affect how long I’m there with them.”  Mrs. Chillan knows that transportation is in the process of hiring new bus drivers and believes it is a process, but has faith they are doing the best they can. She suggests, that while on the bus, to try to do whatever is expected of you. If the bus driver seems stressed, then it’s good to keep the noise down and follow general bus rules. 

Mrs. Clark, an administrator at Thomas Dale, says that she usually leaves school around 4:30pm.  Her concern is the students’ day being extended, and her and the students being in the heat for a long time. Mrs. Clark is one of the few who believe this issue has a solution coming ahead. She says that “They’re working out a couple of components. One is new routes, and that’s a big part of it”. Mrs. Clark knows how frustrating the bus can be because she has a daughter in the school system, and her child arrives home late. 

Students sitting in bus waiting to depart from Thomas Dale (Jayda E.)

Every morning from 7:30-8:45am, you can find our principal, Dr. Jones, waiting outside to greet the students making it to school. Losing about a half hour of time he could be working before school starts for the day. But it’s not just him losing time to complete work. Students who are on these late buses everyday are missing most of their first period class, along with lessons and time to complete their work in class. This bus issue is taking control over the entire day’s flow. Making kids wait in school for an hour after “dismissal”, standing outside in the heat, and even sometimes missing their bus all together because they can never expect it to come on time. “Everyone is overwhelmed, and stressed out. “This is miserable” Says Jones, and as students we can make this a little easier. Wear your mask, go outside when you’re called, and try to remain as calm as possible.