When students from Westside High School live a long distance away, they are usually dropped off at other schools that are still a long drive away from their homes. Some students do not have anyone to pick them up when their parents are supposed to pick them up at a specific time. My brother and I experienced this when we just moved to a new house a little further from school, so we opted to finish our studies at Westside High School since we couldn’t transfer until we had completed our STAAR exams.
Since both of my parents had recently started working, there was no one at home to pick us up. My brother and I had three options: wait for the metro, walk 30 minutes home (which we couldn’t do since we couldn’t figure out how to get back), or ask a stranger for help.
We eventually decided to wait for the metro; as we were riding the metro, we noticed the streets we were passing and realized we had seen that one street once before while on the school bus. The bus could have dropped us off here, which was much closer to our house, and we could have walked home.
As we neared the bus stop the next day, we asked the driver if he might let us off on the way; he said, “Sorry, I can’t do that since that’s not where the bus is meant to stop.”
I was perplexed since I didn’t understand how things worked until I done some research and found it on the Transportation Answers website. “Can a student get off at a stop other than their assigned home bus stop? No. A driver is only permitted to drop students off at the designated stop indicated on their route sheet.” I understood; nonetheless, I disagreed.
The next day, I went to school without my brother, so I was still unfamiliar with the area, and my phone didn’t have internet access. In order to contact my parents, I had no choice but to approach a stranger and ask for permission to use their phones. It was extremely risky, but I had been waiting for my parents for more than an hour, and the woman was so sweet that she gave me a ride home instead. Having given her my address, she took me home safely. She warned me not to get into someone’s stranger car after she left.
Therefore, I asked the bus driver to drop me off near my house so that I could go home, but he refused since he was following the regulations. I do understand that students may get lost or end up in a bad situation if they are dropped off at random.
I am not requesting that the school bus drive me directly to my house; rather, I would like him to drop me off for a few seconds and then continue driving. I understand that they must be strict, that they have tasks to accomplish, and that they must obey all regulations, yet this rule makes no sense to me. Yes, I agree that school buses should not drop students off anywhere, yet this school bus is traveling pass my house, which makes no sense.
According to the transportation regulations, ” Every additional stops adds 3-4 minutes to a route. Our routes are tight with time and capacity. They do not have time and capacity. They do not have time to stop at every student’s home.” As for getting off the bus, it won’t take me minutes; I’ll be off in seconds. Furthermore, the bus will not stop at my house; I will still have to walk 25 minutes or more.
It should be possible for students in my situation to request a bus stop instead of the bus passing their house. Although I am glad to be able to ride a school bus in safety, I believe I should also be able to request that I be dropped off close to my home.
If every school bus works like that, I hope they bend the rules for students who are experiencing this. I want to continue to go to Westside, even if it’s one hour away from my house without asking strangers for help or walking 30 minutes home only to arrive late and tired. It’s also difficult for students to find the time to do their schoolwork or other activities.