Parents concerned over crowded school buses

Crowded buses  in the Osceola County School district are driving parents and students crazy, but the district says it’s trying to make adjustments as quickly as possible.

“I’m not happy about it at all my biggest concern is it’s a safety issue,” said Mike, an Osceola County parent who didn’t want to give his last name.

His 15-year-old son texted him a photo Tuesday morning showing an overcrowded school bus, with one student  who even appeared to be  sitting in the aisle on the floor as they rode the bus to Harmony High School in St  Cloud.

“I know that Thursday and Friday he was sitting on the floor because there was nowhere for him to sit,” he said.

He says in addition to the school bus being 20 minutes late it was packed to capacity leaving some kids without a safe place to sit.

“It looks packed, there’s kids sitting on the edge of the seats, it’s completely full and they still had more stops to go,” he said.
FOX 35 showed the same photo to the Osceola County School district’s transportation director Shawn Tucker .

“Each time we received a picture like that we go to the school we check it out, we’ve only found one bus on our east side that’s actually overloaded and we have another bus right there, every morning we have  standby busses that takes care of the possibility of overload,” Tucker said.

Tucker says their bus drivers are trained not to pull away until everyone is sitting in a seat, he says when they’ve  followed up on these complaints they’ve found that students were choosing to sit at the back of the bus

“From the middle of the bus back are most of the students, so they love to sit towards the back of the bus, there was five seats that had plenty of room in it one  person, one students to a seat, lots of room in the front,” Tucker said.

Still tucker acknowledges that many of their buses are still crowded and says they’re making changes each day.

“We’re daily getting counts from drivers, and re-evaluating their routes, seeing the numbers that they have, compared to another route that’s in that area, and we adjust stops, we could take one stop off of one of the buses that are full and move it to another bus that has room, and that’s what we’re doing daily right now,” Tucker said.

The district is encouraging parents to call the hotline if they feel their child’s bus is too crowded. The number to the back to school hotline is : 407-518-8159.