After a teenager at Goose Creek Memorial High School turned in a video of an overcrowded bus to a Houston television station, the district is taking action and addressing the issue.
The student, identified only as a junior named Yaimaira on the TV report, says students have to run to get a seat on the bus. She also said if they do not make it in time, students are left standing or having to sit on the floor and, in some cases, they are falling over each other. The student said she made the video after going to district authorities and getting nowhere.
Susan Passmore, the district’s spokeswoman, said after receiving the video from Channel 13, Transportation Director Rick Walterscheid boarded the same bus while it was on campus.
“There were 51 students on it, and no more than two seats had three to a seat,” Passmore said. “And that was only for a 10-minute period when 28 students exited the bus at the first stop.”
Passmore added the bus is designed to carry 77 students.
Walterscheid, according to Passmore, reviewed the bus’s onboard video going back from Thursday to Oct. 21. She said the only day they did not have a video was Nov. 12 and did not know why it was unavailable.
“Looking at the video every day, there were never more than 52 students on the bus,” she said. “And there were numerous occasions of empty seats. While we do not know when the (student’s) video was taken, it doesn’t match any of the videos dating back to Oct. 21. And it doesn’t show the bus leaving campus.”
Passmore added Goose Creek bus drivers are instructed not to drive if any student is standing or sitting on the floor while the bus is in motion.
“Mr. Walterscheid has instructed the driver to get up and make sure everyone has a seat,” Passmore said. “And he has asked students to work with him and share seats. Also, any incident should be reported to the transportation
Every bus route is filled every day, and every bus has a driver, Passmore said.
The protocol Goose Creek bus drivers follow is they should never leave if the bus is overcapacity.
“If it is, they are to report it to dispatch, and an extra bus is sent out, and they split the route,” Passmore said. “And they have to do that sometimes, so they know not to drive with an overcrowded bus.”
Passmore said students that feel they have an issue with the busing system should always talk to the folks at the district’s transportation department.
“We never want to compromise any student’s safety, but this had never been reported to us before,” she said.