Bus service is focus
By Elsa Maxey
FBISD announces that direct e-communications with the school district is the clear choice of parents participating in a national and local FBISD survey. But, also the same type of e-mail distributions are taking place among the parents of FBISD school children. In fact, in a recent flurry of emails, parents appear to be serving as the ultimate source of credible and reliable information based on first-hand accounts they share with one another aimed at finding solutions to problems and other issues.
“Can you imagine having to implement cost-saving measures that turned out these results on the first day of school?” asked one parent after a series of reported incidents that included no show busses, those not picking up kids, busses not dropping off kids, busses dropping off and picking up kids in the wrong places, and late buses.
As the second week of school unfolded, what concerned some parents is that there are children, who still have bus service, but they are expected to cross roads with on-coming traffic, and then they have to cross in front of the bus in order to board it. They report that this is not safe and suggest a safer alternative where the bus can pick up the kids on its way back after having made other stops.
Parents said that FBISD contracted with a company that maps routes for businesses to improve efficiency, along the same lines of the postal service drivers taking routes with mostly right turns. They said that since the maps are computer-generated and show the most efficient routes, they do not take into consideration the best routes that factor common sense. The parents are candid about how the routes are probably designed to save money for the district, directing drivers to stop and board kids at one location at the expense of their safety. But parents who complained said they were met with responses from the driver about being told to stop on those locations.
“We need bus drivers who will make the best decision for the children, not blindly follow a computer-generated bus route,” said one of the parents. With intentions to communicate these issues to the school district, some report that the problems are clearing up.
“The District contracted with a school bus transportation expert recommended by Transfinder,” said Ben Copeland, FBISD’s Chief Auxiliary Services Officer. He said the board approved the implementation of bus routing software in April.
Transfinder is a transportation software package used in school districts throughout Texas and the nation, advises Copeland. Working on improving bus transportation for the district’s students, he said that “Over the past two years, the district has continually made changes to its bus routing system to improve efficiency and save money.”