The Wheels on the Bus Come and Go

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?

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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30 Responses to The Wheels on the Bus Come and Go

  1. What a nightmare. All I can think of is the working mother trying to pack her kids on the bus in time to get work and having to deal with such an erratic “schedule.” Terrible. We need more Miss Stephanies…obviously.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the same thing. Working parents and people with really little kids, like people who have to take babies to the bus stop to accompany their other children — In below 0 temps.


  2. Benson says:

    What a gigantic pain in the bumper. My kids didn’t have much trouble with school bused. Of course that was a while back, so I can’r fully relate. I can however relate to worrying about your kid’s safety. I just don;t get this Cavalier attitude about school bus schedules. Hell forget about Dick and Jane learning to read and write. Worry about them getting to High School without becoming road kill. Maybe I don’t get the full scope of this money thing, but 100 bucks per day for a few hours of driving is not too shabby. I agree Miss Stephanie should be on the short list for cloning. Good luck in your third year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan Antion says:

    Good luck to you in the fall. We once had the driver forget to drop our daughter off and stopped the bus in an intersection and told her to walk home from there. I’m always amazed when I see the things go wrong with buses.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Josh Wrenn says:

    This is “smaller government” at its finest. They need to bring back Miss Stephanie on a dedicated route and pay her better. Letting kids wait and be exposed to the elements is simply unacceptable.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good grief! How frustrating. I hope the bus drivers and schedules are better next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rgemom says:

    Oh my gosh!! That is so utterly ridiculous!! My brain would explode. Suddenly I’m somewhat glad we don’t even have the option of buses. Hoping and praying next year is better for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anxious Mom says:

    Oh that blows, I hope next year is better. Our kids get put on a two-hour delay whenever the weather is very cold, although I’m guessing that y’all would be on delay pretty darn regularly if they did that. Fortunately we don’t have to deal with buses (between living next to LM’s old school and the new school not having buses).

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have lotsa two-hour delays, indeed.
      We had so many last year, we ended up adding 35 minutes to the day for two months. They’re not very consistent about it. It’s supposed to be delay when am temps are under 0, but they only do it about half the time. I got frostbite two winters ago, because it was -15 feels like -40 and we were out there for 40+ minutes, me a little longer, because I have to walk back home.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Carrie Rubin says:

    I sure hope the third year is the charm for you. Reading this makes me grateful we had to drive our kids to school. Never thought I’d say that…

    I love that you recognized Miss Stephanie with baked goods. We all love to be rewarded for a job well done, and I’m sure your kindness meant a lot to her.

    Happy weekend!


  9. baldjake70 says:

    I predict it will be more of the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. April says:

    $100 a day is not enough when a person is making sure the precious lives of our little ones get to and from school safely. We need more Miss Stephanies. Good luck in the Fall.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It sounds hideous nightmare just to try and get your kids to and from school safely. It is a shame that Miss Stephanie is not longer doing it as she sounded wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. reocochran says:

    This could be so anoting and sorry to hear about this series of bad experiences with bus drivers and schdules. I will cross my fingers for another Miss Stephanie!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. markbialczak says:

    I hope the bus situation smooths itself out, Joey. They owe you big time.

    Liked by 2 people

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