Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Busing Woes

So many student bus routes changed this school year and I guess a ton of kids missed their bus. I found out about 2 weeks before school started by going to the school website to double-check. I saw that kevin's route had changed by 20 mins and 2 blocks. I even posted about it on facebook to alert friends that they shuold check too. I figured that many would have already checked, or called the bus company, but for those who didn't, word would spread.

Apparently not. I heard a woman on the city bus complaining yesterday that the bus company didn't let people know. She said her kid missed the bus Monday AND Tuesday...???? What is the company supposed to do?? Call every family in town and ask if their kid takes the bus and inform them of a possible change? Or should the parents, or the kids even (especially older teens) check it for themselves? We are lucky here, we do not have to pay separately for our school busing like other cities are starting (some have been for years, and we're talking hundreds of dollars per student each year), but people's continual complaints could change that one day and it irritates me. It took me all of 1 minute to look at the different bus maps and find our's. Okay maybe 2 minutes while my computer downloaded the various pdf files lol. Or people wait until the last minute (like THE MORNING school starts!) to try to call the company and they can't get through cos so many others are doing the same thing. Apparently hundreds of kids missed their buses on Monday and even again on Tuesday!!

My 13 year old, being the thoughtful kid that he is, left early to go to his old stop and see if anyone was there. He intercepted one friend who was heading for the old stop - when the new stop is literally right beside his house lol. So that was my son's good deed for the day. I just can't figure out why so many people just don't look after themselves. They left for work and their kids were stranded, younger ones not having a clue what to do. I know one woman who was going to pile some elementary kids in her minivan but then was worried about it because she didn't know these kids or their parents, and felt weird having them in her car. So she got out her cell phone and managed to get hold of some parents, give them her name and number and vehicle specs, and then drive the kids to school. They were a bit late after all that, but better than having a bunch of 8 year olds wandering the streets wondering what happened.

But it made me think of the broader scope of how so many people rely on agencies to do things for them. My only suggestion, which I already wrote to the bus company last night via email, is that if they make big changes, they could easily call our local radio stations and inform them. They wouldn't even have to pay for an 'ad' to run - it would be a news item. Calling on parents to check the website for the changes, or call the bus company SOONER. That might have helped a LOT of people but I didn't see anything on FB either, and I have our stations on my friends list. But other than that, what is the company supposed to do? They have thousands of students to transport, and it's not like they have a list. They stop and kids get on, or they don't. Why do so many people rely on an agency to fix things for them? Why didn't they assure that their young children were heading to the right stop ahead of time? I know that there were some changes last year too, so it's not like the routes have been set in stone for 20 years and suddenly changed with no warning. To me, a school bus stop is something that is always subject to change.

They might find that some buses are not full and therefore not running at capacity, while others are overflowing and about to become a safety violation if too many kids want to get on - so something would have to be changed. My son said that the last stop on his route has about 30 kids! Half the bus is filled at one stop. Then there might be cases where a particular housing estate no longer has many school age kids and it's a waste of time and money for the bus to wander all around it, so they change the route to one bus stop for the whole estate and then move onto another. It's going to change, and people need to be in charge of their own lives instead of waiting for someone else to come along and tell them what to do and where to go. I also made sure last year, my son's first year of taking a school bus far across town, that he had money in his backpack for an emergency and made myself and him aware of how to catch the City bus. He could miss his after school, or even before school, and be stuck cos I'm at work. So after putting a bus map in his bag with the money and actually going on the route with him once, he was familiar with what to do in case something happened. I put money in his bag on the first day this year as well and showed him that the city bus stop near his school is the same one as last year. All done. Not easy to do with younger kids, but there really are few excuses for parents to leave their kids to the wolves and then blame the school board and the bus company.

Maybe this is a boring post, but you can take the logic (or lack-thereof) and apply it to so many different things. People complain when they don't know about various bylaws (but dont try to look them up), they want the government bodies to fix everything for them, they don't take charge of their own lives and then complain when things go wrong. Why is that? I thought we were proud of being a Free people,,, but how free are we really when we willingly let others take over, or rely too heavily on them?

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