LSTA Promises Change after TLS Meeting Highlights Numerous Safety Concerns from Parents; Blames Social Media for Losing Drivers

After a meeting between TLS and Aksonim – including from the LSTA – highlighting the safety concerns from parents, the LSTA has promised change.

Part of the change, will include setting up a dedicated safety hotline which will allow parents to bring concerns directly to them. They promised to address every safety concern.

Today, the LSTA notified schools about the change with the following letter – which first blamed social media for losing drivers:

The LSTA’s highest priority is the safety of the students.

With this in mind, it is imperative to note that there is a current climate of negativity against bus drivers and bus companies. This is and will continue running drivers out of town. Social media has been endlessly beating down on bus companies which has a negative impact on driver retention. We will not be able to sustain drivers leaving us an-mass. It has and will continue directly impact runs, timing and more.

In our continued commitment to safety, The LSTA will be adding a dedicated extension to report safety issues. Any calls that come in will be shared with the Lakewood Traffic & Safety Division as well as the vendors. Vendors are careful about their safety protocols and processes and have insurance policies that sky rocket with every accident. Everyone wants the same thing – Safety, Safety, Safety.

A point of interest to keep in mind – in a normal year at this point in the year, about 98% of students are on bus routes, this year, with the current driver shortage, only 93% of students are on bus routes. This percentage is actually higher than we would anticipate with the current challenges.

Please help us get the word out to your parents that a) Safety is everyone’s priority 2) call in any safety related issues 3) bus drivers are not the enemy, they are needed and need to be respected and thanked.

The LSTA told TLS this line will be for safety concerns only, and any calls regarding routes and other issues will not be addressed.

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  1. There is a negative climate because the multiple accidents being reported with busses. As well as too many bus drivers from ALL companies not driving safe.

    Everyone complains that lakewood drivers are not safe. Let’s be really honest here and compare lakewood to new York city. There is more people living in NYC and the driving there is 10x worse than here, yet there aren’t reports like we have here.

    The driver shortage may be a problem, but a letter like this is dismissing the fact that we demand safe drivers. If they’re leaving town they probably aren’t the drivers we want here anyway.

    When will the children be more important than the money that’s being passed around to keep these idiots on the road?

  2. A tone deaf statement.

    The main point of the statement (as evidenced by it being the lead paragraph) is basically a denial of a safety problem. Its social media’s fault, they are saying bad things about us.

    There is no mention of anything that the LSTA will be doing to ensure that the vendors are hiring qualified safe drivers. No mention of additional training of drivers. No mention of ensuring that cameras on busses are operational. No mention of any consequences for a vendor that hires a non qualified driver. Its social media’s fault. Oh, and there is a new number to call if you have a complaint – but we are not providing you with that number.

    LSTA has to understand, most parents are not looking to bash you. We need you. But we are putting our precious children into your hands and we want to be assured by you and by the vendors that they are in safe hands. That’s all we want. And to this point we have no seen any reason to be reassured.

  3. To enough is enough
    Are you kidding the daily news posted today about NYC busing “two thirds of buses have red light, speeding tickets and and thousands of them in school zones” copy and paste it’s today’s headline you have no idea what your talking about

  4. I live on a busy block with around 100 busses passing by each day. I have seen kind caring courteous and safe drivers over and over again. While I agree something must be done to take the unsafe ones off the road…social media has deff placed all lakewood busses and bus companies in a bad light which is a) lashon haroh b) making good drivers quit c) making anti Semitism in lakewood sky rocket d) making lakewood seem unappreciative of the great bus drivers that are working hard to get our children to and from school safely.
    That being said…..
    I also think a safety hotline just seems like a safe place to put our complaints so they can be ignored. Something tangible must be done like GPS and inside and outside video monitoring with consequences if the drivers drive without the monitors runnings. Or safety monitors that are vetted so they are actually safer for our children!!

  5. We refuse to be lectured to by the LSTA. We will continue to call out aggressive bus driving because our kids’ safety is more important than filling routes. Turning this issue around into a lack of drivers shows that all the parents’ words have fallen onto deaf ears. This “extension” will probably be a bored secretary listening to callers and then simply hanging up. You will not get rid of us with empty memos, LSTA.

    • The way to restore the confidence of the parents and the respect the vast majority of drivers deserve is to put stickers on the back of the buses with the NJ Highway and Traffic Safety division number, so that dangerous driving can be reported directly to them and investigated by GPS.

      Putting how’s my driving stickers with the company or the LSTA’s number is clearly not doing enough.

      It’s my hope that more safety conscious companies start competing in this space to raise the safety bar for all.

    • this should be basic, but the bus companies will never agree because they don’t want everyone to see firsthand how many times their busses don’t show up at all

  6. Yesterday, my son’s bus dropped him off surprisingly on time, however I didn’t realize it was actually dropping kids off because the driver did not put on his yellow flashing lights, did not open his yellow crossing stick in front, and did not put out his stop sign. Thank goodness my son crossed the street ok and there were no cars coming, but I was horrified and tried running after the bus to tell him, but he was driving too fast. I quickly took down the bus number and called the bus company, and spoke with a representative who did not apologize, but only said, “Oh, the driver must have forgotten to put on his lights/stop sign.” I said you may be right, but this is not the first time this has happened this year (with a different bus driver) and this is completely unsafe. I was disturbed at how careless the representative sounded on the phone. If safety is the number one priority, he should have taken my complaint more seriously – he didn’t even care when I told him the bus number, didn’t even say, we will re-educate the driver, etc NOTHING.
    So what is a hotline going to help????

  7. it would really benefit everyone if the bus companies seem like they are trying to help. every time I call any bus company, I get attitude. many many people said they had the same experience. be nice!

  8. I can see it happening now all bus companies leaving Lakewood next year no money to be made routes take to long. sta big company left Lakewood a few years back they can go to other towns no traffic same money and no complaints
    FYI anyone complaining either doesn’t have kids or doesn’t work

  9. Lets get real here. The vast majority of incidents involve one particular bus company, and that one bus company has over 80 moving violations on it’s busses since 2015. 80!!! At least 2 of those moving violations involved bus drivers who were DWI WITH KIDS ON THE BUS. Its all public record if anyone wants to go find it. It has nothing to do with social media actually social media is doing a public service by giving people the platform to do so. Put the blame where it belongs.

  10. Question, and slightly off topic but,,, I get that there’s a shortage of drivers so busses often don’t show up, but do the companies get paid regardless? like is it a flat rate for the whole year and even if they miss 30% of them they still get paid the whole amount or they only get paid per route per day?

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