Wake County Schools

Hour-long Wake school bus routes shortened

Posted July 12, 2012

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— Wake County's new school bus transportation plan aims to achieve higher efficiency and save dollars, but it had some children on the road for up to an hour when year-round schools started this week.

Andy Taylor's first- and third-graders had a 13.9-mile bus ride to Oak Grove Elementary, which is a 2.2-mile, 5-minute car ride from their Cary home. The map sent to parents before the start of school showed a 45-minute trip, Taylor said, but it actually took an hour.

"A lot of parents didn't realize until Monday and Tuesday when their kids started to ride these things how horrendous the experience was going to be," he said.

Taylor said the bus route meanders through different neighborhoods, which makes the ride long.

"They are taking kids in a variety of different communities and putting them on the same bus route. They just can't do it," he said.

Superintendent Tony Tata said that Wake County schools are running fewer buses this year and adjusted the start and end times of some school schedules to save $4.6 million and qualify for $3 million in efficiency funds from the state.

"Last year, under the old assignment plan, we had 933 buses on the road every day," Tata said. This year, about 80 fewer buses are running each day.

Taylor said children such as his are paying the price for that cost-savings effort.

Long bus rides irk some Wake parents Long bus rides irk some Wake parents

"The efficiency argument is we need to fill buses, but you could be efficient without filling buses," he said. "If you wanted to fill every bus, you could, but you could drive around for hours getting kids on the bus (until) you have a full bus. There has to be a happy medium."

The school system is working out the kinks of the new bus routes and making adjustments for a number of schools, Tata said.

Taylor learned that his children's bus route will be revised, starting Monday. The new estimated ride time is 25 minutes.


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  • bigbadbill Jul 19, 2012

    And the liberal distraction begins.

  • ThisTooShallPass Jul 13, 2012

    A little ironic isnt it that parents complained that they want neighborhood schools, yet they still want to put their kids on the bus, which is just as long of a ride as it was when the schools were a little further away. So, if you got your neighborhood school choice and its 5 minutes away, why are you using the bus anyway? I mean, if you want door, just drive your kids yourself, Or....was the issue of a long bus ride to further away schools just an excuse for not wanting diversity? Kinda makes one wonder....

  • As if .... Jul 13, 2012

    The team leads at the transportation offices for the bus districts ,were told to make the bus routes longer this year because they want to get as many kids on fewer buses.
    They make these routes in front of a computer ,most of the time the bus driver has to make his own route because of crazy stops and non existing stops.
    The way this particular route was run made the first pickup the longest ,at 55 minutes ,which is ridiculous and should have been the last stop if they were closest to the school.
    Again if parents don't physically go down to the school district bus administration office and yell their heads off ,nothing will get done ,just the usual i don't give a darn.

  • BubbaDuke Jul 13, 2012

    What do they want? Diversity or neighborhood schools? With diversity, the system is saying we have substandard teachers so we're not going to punish the kids by bussing them across town so they can get an acceptable education...but they may have to ride the bus for an hour to receive this education. With neighborhood schools it's hard to find a teacher who's willing to work inner-city schools because they're taking their lives in their hands just by being in the neighborhood....but at least the kids are not put at risk from long, dangerous bus rides.

  • superman Jul 13, 2012

    The time on the bus will vary also by the number of stops as well as the number of miles it travels. If the bus makes 25 stops at 1 to 2 minutes per stop that adds 30 minutes to the ride. The only way to shorten the length of time would be to require all students to get on and off at two or three locations. The kids can pretend their parents are taking them to the beach or Disneyland. Then the trip wont be so bad. I think it is far worst for the parents than it is for the kids.

  • superman Jul 13, 2012

    When you complain just think about that annual welfare payment you get every year when you file your income taxes. You do remember that nice deduction you get for each dependent? Pay your fair share of taxes and then we might feel sorry for those long rides. In the mean time just take your children to school.

  • westernwake1 Jul 13, 2012

    "This hour long trip the school children have to ride is so unreal." - esteryates69

    For many years we had over hour long bus rides for our elementary and middle school aged children under the old diversity plan. No media wanted to discuss the outrage from parents about ridiculously long bus rides back then -- only now that the choice plan is in place is the length of bus rides suddenly in the press. Absurd!

  • FlySwater Jul 13, 2012

    I wrode the bus 45 minutes each way as a kid and never complained once. Use that time to study for a test or do homework. Or....lets give the complainers an opportunity to cover the $7.6 million dollar savings out of their pocket.

    Tuffen-up folks. I don't think school busing should be on the taxpayer dime anyway.

  • rand321 Jul 13, 2012

    At least the parents got proximity to the neighborhood school.

  • carolinagirl75 Jul 13, 2012

    Yeah, that's a bit ridiculous. I know in such a large district, you can't make everyone happy, but having elementary age kids riding an hour is too much. As a teacher, I would hate to have to engage those kids in learning after such a ride.