Durham Returns 10 Bus Routes – 400 Children Left Without Busing – District Scrambles To Find Solution

FIRST REPORT: [UPDATED 8:00 AM] TLS has learned that Durham Bus Service has returned 10 bus routes to the District, being unable to service those routes. A Board member tells TLS there are many legal issues they now have to deal with as a result of the sudden change, which will also affect the busing system.

Sources tell TLS, about 400 children this afternoon were left without busing due to the dropped routes, most of them public school routes.

TLS has also learned, that there were at least two other bus companies which were having trouble servicing the routes which they bid on, but ended up accommodating the district. One of those companies’ owners were seen driving a route himself.

An official confirmed to TLS that the Board Of Transportation is currently working on resolving the issue in time for tomorrow’s busing.

UPDATE 11:30 PM Officials tell TLS the district is considering several options which will resolve the issue ‘within days’.

 The issue, which still leaves several hundred children without busing at this time, was caused due when the public schools switched their dismissal time from 2:15 PM to 2:45 PM, affecting the 3:00 PM routes, some which include private schools.

UPDATE 8:00 AM. The following was submitted by a School Administrator to TLS, received last night from the District:

Good Evening

I Have Been Asked To Forward This To Your Attention And Was Provided The Attched E-Mail List To Accomplish Same.

Please Be Formally Advised That The District’s Administration, Transportation Staff , And The Board Are Actively Pursuing All Avenues To Address Any And All Issues That Have Arisen With Regard To Transportation , Most Notably , The “no Shows” And Tardiness Of Certain Bus Companies That Have Affected Many Both In The Public And Non Public Sector.

On Behalf Of The Administration And The Board We Sincerely Apologize For Any And All Inconvience This Has Caused To Schools , Parents /guardians , And The Children We Serve. Hoewever, We Fully Appreciate That More Than Just Apologies Are Needed .

Specifically , This Evening Gus And I Have Met Again To Review All Issues And Supporting Documentation And Have Been In Contact With The Superintendent , Lydia Silva, The Board President, Meir Grunhut , And Transportation Chairperson , Isaac Zlatkin . In Addition , The Board’s Transportation Committee Met Earlier Today( At The Request Of Mr Zlatkin) With The Vendors In An Effort To Resolve Any And All Issues In A Proactive And Amicable Fashion . Moreover, Patty Remained At The District This Evening Until Approximately 8 Pm To Assure That Any And All Information Required Was Collected .

Unfortunately , It Appears That Despite The Best Efforts Of All Involved Further Steps Will Need To Be Taken And Will Be Taken Pending A Review Of The Situation And Board Approval . In The Interim There Will Be “problems”

Please Continue To Report Any And All Issues To Gus And Patty So We Can Have The Factual Support We Need To Win … Win Meaning Getting Our Kids—-Public And Non -Public— To And From School In A Safe And Timely Manner .

Thanking You For Educating Our Future And Understanding That The Board , Transportation Staff , And Administration Will Not Stop Until We Get What You Deserve.

Be Well .

While The Avenues Of Redress Are Being Actively Pursued Please Be Formally Advised That There In All Likelihood Will Continue To Be Issues. Please Notify Gus Or Patty In Writing So The Board Has Ample Evidence To Pursue This Matter In The Appropriate Legal Forum .

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53 COMMENTS

  1. Well I guess it’s time to rethink that whole idea of how close do you really live to the school. Should our children be considered a walker to school if they live within a safe distance to the school or should the parents be responsible for transporting them if they live close to the school.
    I can remember living 8 blocks (0.5 miles) away from my school and I was considered a walker, I had to walk or have my parents drive me to school from grades K – 6 grade and even when I was in Jr. High and High School I was still considered a walker which was almost 2 miles away from my home.
    As someone else had stated in previous blogs, our children walk and play all around town after school and throughout the summer vacation without busing so what is so wrong with having them walk to school if they live close enough.
    Lets end this busing problem and come to a final decision, enough is enough.

  2. Maybe some other bus companys should give back some routes. My kids are all getting to school late. One school gets picked up at 8:50 and the other one after 9:00.

  3. and not a single person that opened up their mouth so large to condemnen the frum company opens their mouth now huh? They couldn’t run fast enough if I recall correctly last year.

  4. To Number 4: I think what number 1 might be referring to is that in late 1960’s a law was adopted providing FREE schoolbus service to all school children provided they were within the mileage limits. I might be wrong as for mileage distance but I think it was 1.0 miles for elementary and 1.5 for middle/high school. Otherwise, we had to walk , ride our bikes or be driven in by mom or dad. This also applied to private amd parochial schools too. Lakewood school system seems to provide courtesy busing. to students
    categorized as “walkers”

  5. What about grouping 2 schools to be ‘mishtatef’ as joint partners for busing prior to the next school year? They should work it out between themselves (each school decides who they want to partner with), but be required by the BOE to find at least one bus route partner.

    These schools would have their students bussed as a group per neighborhood instead of long, exhausting (almost an hour!) runs that cause buses to crisscross all over town.

    Achdus can really make an impact on this. It’s inefficient for the buses to go one school at a time only and the kids are exhausted by the lengthy bus rides.

  6. Please, please, PLEASE don’t replace the routes with (moderated) bus service! Bus came within two inches of hitting me today after pulling out onto cedarbridge without any regard to the cars already traveling at 50 mph and if it wasn’t for three of us slamming on our brakes, a lot of children on that bus would be in the hospital tonite. i’m not trying to slander a specific company but today was one of the scariest close calls i’ve ever had in my entire driving experience in lakewood and what made it even scarier was the fact that the bus was full of children

  7. my daughters driver does another route after them so they get picked up at 8:05 in the morning and he drops them at school before any other buses get there 8:40 and school doesn’t even start until 9:00

  8. #1 you bring up a valid point that the BOE seems to forget. As a bus driver in Lakewood I can tell you that law is still in effect but just not implemented. Today kids who live on laurel ave are still walking to and from school. Even though ocean ave is considered a non crossable street. That’s why a crossing guard is posted at the corner of clover. Just last year I had a route out of bais tova on oak st. that transported students to cypress and spruce st. Every road in this area is crossable so as to why the board chooses to bus these students is an enigma to me.

  9. Grouping schools on a single bus is a great idea in theory but it will not work because there is guaranteed to be fighting among the kids on the bus. And now there is no single school official who will be able to sort it out

  10. How can there still be bus issues?

    The oilam was matzliach in their vicious attack on Negba, and Negba was blackballed. So how can there still be complaints?

  11. my daughter is in bais rivka rochel primary and this year bnos melech primary is on the bais rivkah rochel campus and they both get dismissed at 2:45 yet there are seperate busses for each school. My daughters run is over a hour and she is already complaining about sitting on the bus so long. Why can’t the 2 schools SHARING THE SAME CAMPUS and the same dismissal times combine the bussing to save gas money and our precious daughters peace of mind

  12. My son who’s let out at 4:00 came home yesterday at 4:45 and told me that his bus driver said that everyday they’ll be picked up from school at 4:30, the only good thing is that he’s not on the bus for 45 minutes, only 15

  13. Oh, thank you! Thank you for the bussing! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Of course, if my children would attend public school(at a cost of how many thousands? $12,000? 13,000?) then I wouldn’t be expected to thank anyone. But since they attend private, religious schools, I am.

    So thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Would you like to thank ME now, for paying exorbitant taxes to fund YOUR free schooling?

  14. Hmmm well I guess that reason many years ago to lay off actual Lakewood Bus Drivers wasn’t a good thing after all..all we have now is problems..problems with pick ups, deliveries, drop offs..shall I go on. Yes the district saves money on transportation but what are they really doing? Is it really saving money, picking up 3 or 4 bus companies in lakewood to help carry the heavy load of kids going to school? I think not..and to be honest it sux. Need to rethink a better plan for the future or we will all be driving our kids to school.

  15. Just for the record.
    Last year I complained about Negba because my sone bus driver would sometimes come very early, sometimes very late and sometimes not at all! His driving skill also needed some improvement. After they switched the route we had a new driver that was very punctual and let me know before he started coming a few minutes early.
    This year both of my childrens busses have a set time and they stick to it! I hate beating up on people but i do appreciate when things work on a schedule!

  16. The truth comes to light in the end, and I knew all along last year when my children were riding with Negba and had great service. Its the Trans. deptartment and BOE that just wanted to blame all the craziness with their bussing issues on Negba.

  17. I am so happy that the BOE finally is brave enough to stand up aginst Durhum, the whole last year when I complained about them to the BOE, I was always promised something would be done, and nothing was ever taken care of.

  18. how does the BOE manage to send a message with every word Capped, but not the whole word? what tools they have in our modern BOE office. amazing. and disturbing.

  19. I THINK EYES SHOULD BE OPENED UP WHEN BID SPECIFICATIONS ARE WRITTEN AND SENT OUT. BID SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD BE SPELLED OUT IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT. WHEN A TIME CHANGES IN SCHOOL AND IT IS AFTER BIDS WERE SEND OUT, AWARDED AND BOARD APPROVED, THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN IMMEDIATELY CAUGHT. WHEN IT COMES TIME FOR BIDDING FOR THE FOLLOWING SCHOOL YEAR, THEN THIS SHOULD BE WRITTEN IN SPECS. I KNOW I WORKED WITH SPECS IN THIS DISTRICT FOR MANY YEARS AND KNOW A LOT ABOUT THEM. TRUST ME. SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE.

  20. The message was sent originally in ALL CAPS. Someone Edited It In Word And Changed It To Title Case Instead Of Sentence Case.

    Which makes sense because everything out of that office sounds like A Pronouncement

  21. They knew the time change for dismissal was coming for the two public schools. Maybe if they looked at those schools and not only the private runs things would go smooth. Remember BOE you are working for the public district. I have busses going past my house with veryfew students on a bus, combine some of the runs, Some bussess go past a school and could make a stop to have fewer runs.Also why do so many students stand up,that is a safety issue. Doesn’t the driver make them sit or do they disobe? Put the busses back in house,worked for many years.

  22. I think their are real problems with the way the BoE handles trans. It shouldn’t be allowed for a company to take to much, and then give it back once the school yr started. Their should be penalties for such a thing.

  23. I understand Durhum is having some problems right now, but that doesn’t mean when I call to know where my daughters bus is after standing outside for 45 minutes that they hang up the phone on me. Some basic courtesy please…

  24. This is THE problem in Lakewood, all the roads are overcrowded. The buses can’t move as fast as they thought when they bid on the routes, so they can’t meet the schedules. Rethink the walkers, more walkers less buses. Combine the routes less buses. Less buses, faster runs.

  25. I had the same thing happen to me. I called after waiting for 45 minutes for my son to come home, to know where his bus was- after keeping me on hold for abt 7 minutes, they just hung up the phone on me.

  26. My daughter was (finally) accepted to a school (for primary) last Monday evening (9/5), the next day (Tues 9/6) I went down to the BOE to fill out a transportation form and give them her birth cert. One person told me she would have a bus pass within a few days another told me they would not be processing any more new applications until 9/12, both said she can not go on the bus until she has a bus pass.
    I have been calling regularly and was unable to get a person. I left a specific message on Sun (9/11) and Mon (9/12). Although the voicemail said they would return calls I have not heard from anyone.
    Today (9/14) I finally got a person on the phone. She looked my daughter up & said she is still not in the system and the person who takes care of the non-public applications is out until Mon (9/19).
    So now my daughter (who had to wait till 2 days before school started to find out what school she was going to) has to wait till, at least, the third week of school to go on the bus.
    Why would such a key person be out of the office during this crucial time? And if she had to be out for some valid reason, why can no-one else take care of these kids?
    Does anyone know if there is someone I can call about this?

  27. In past years the bus companies had a huge windfall with short routes. Now that the transportation department is working the routes cost effectively the bus companies do not like it. The bottom line is we need to review what has been done in the past that wasn’t kosher.

  28. If kids who should be walking (under a mile) actually walked you would have less bus routes. Stop bussing people that don’t need it!!!!!
    Public AND Private.

  29. @ #46 This year the BOE made the routes longer than they have in the past, and now with the high and middle school changing the times it messes up the whole thing, it was not a smart idea to change the times should have been left alone. Bus Driver’s can not be in 2 places at the same time and everyone would start complaining that the busses are speeding all over town. IT IS NOT THE BUS COMPANY’S FAULT BLAME THE BOE!

  30. In the real world, if a vendor would say I’m giving back 10 routes, the client would say
    “Its all or nothin”. Its a shame we can’t run this town like a business!!

  31. Hey Currious

    You need to read before you post. The frum company was warned many times. They had some runs taken away, then warned again, then more runs taken away. Finally the contract was voided and then they were banned from biding. This all was over the course of the school year, and the parents complaints. Don’t make it sound like they were picked on and treated unfairly.

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