I like yellow things, except yellow jackets. And maybe school buses.
Over the years, I have put many a kid on many a school bus, morning after morning.
Before August of 2013, I never, in the history of my mommyhood, had one ounce of trouble getting my kids onto the school bus.
Not one time had I ever failed to get my children onto the school bus. Not once.
Sure, for a few years I drove them to school, because the schools they went to didn’t have buses, but school buses have long been a part of our lives.
Although I have alluded to the troubles here and there, I could not possibly relate all the dramatic school bus stories we’ve gathered since moving here. Suffice it to say we have drawn the short-stick on bus reliability.
For the last school year, the bus number changed three times in two weeks. We’d be at the bus stop at 7:05 and a bus would come anywhere from 7:10 to not at all.
Then it changed again mid-winter.
After the new bus driver waved us down and we walked through a foot or more of snow, 100 feet or so from our stop, the
idiot bitch driver actually said to me that she could drop them home, but she couldn’t pick them up at their stop because she had to make a left turn adjacent to our street.
I had words with her.
I waved my letter from Transportation at her and said things like, “talk to your boss…your job…Transportation…regulations…well over an eighth of a mile…schedule…four more available left turns…”
One day, while we waited in the ice and snow, a previous bus driver stopped and told me, “Just put em on here, she’s late.”
It actually went that way for quite a time. We’d wait for 5-40 minutes in the freezing temps and eventually, usually, one bus or another took them.
Spring came, but still, we never knew which bus would come from which direction to collect our kids, but it was warmer, so we complained less.
Yes, we spoke to bus drivers, to Transportation, and at times, even the principal. This yielded short-term results.
Fall 2014 changed everything, and the girls had a new bus driver. I’ll be damned if she didn’t show up on schedule every single day, like bus drivers should. Furthermore, she drove through a parking lot to pick them up, as well as the kids down the way, because it was Safer For The Children. I loved her. (Miss Stephanie, if you’re reading this, I LOVE YOU!)
Every time I baked cookies or cupcakes or sweet breads, I took her some. I thanked God for her every day. Good ol’ reliable Miss Stephanie.
There is no more Miss Stephanie.
Now there is whoever can do it.
A lot of times, that’s one driver running two routes.
Now there are a lot of automated phone calls at 6am and 2pm.
“Bus #189 will be subbed by bus #__ and will arrive approximately 20-25 minutes late.”
What it should say is that sometimes no bus will come, or your kids will be home 50 minutes late. You will have to embrace the panic attacks, and maybe call your FIL to come take them.
I’ve since found out that bus drivers in our township are paid $100 a day. While that’s a generous compensation for a few hours of each day, it’s not even close to what someone should earn for dealing with the madness that is the school bus. I suppose, come the bitter cold hours of pre-dawn February, $100 a day does not seem worth it to many people.
Additionally, we don’t have enough power in number. There are only two families on this block, and although the the other family’s kids come home on the bus, they are driven to school by their nana every day.
A lot of winter mornings, I want to flag down their nana, and ask her if my kids can take a fun ride in her trunk…
Four more days.
This coming fall brings with it TWO different buses, one for each girl.
Do you think the third year will be the charm?