Students battle cold while waiting for late buses


Photo by Mia Magone

Students walk to their respective buses after a day of school. Buses have been missing many times this year, leaving students to find alternative ways home.

Students are forced to find alternative rides to school after missing buses leave them waiting in the cold. While some bus drivers are consistent with their schedule, others can arrive late or even not come at all, putting students at risk for being late to their classes or activities.

When weather conditions are undesirable, students should be able to count on their buses to not leave them standing in the cold. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for students like sophomore Cate Liu.

“Once, we were waiting in the cold for the bus for 20 minutes. We were almost late to my first period because of it. It doesn’t happen that often, but it happens often enough to be a problem. My bus has also just not shown up at all. When it doesn’t come, I call my mom to come get me. I am pretty annoyed and pissed off about this. Somehow, every single time it comes late, it is always cold outside,” Liu said

This is a common experience for many students, and it is especially frustrating when the weather is inhospitable. Freshman Tristan Boone describes a similar experience to Liu.

“My bus has shown up late many times, mostly in the morning, but has also not shown up at all when we were leaving school. I had to call my mom to come pick me up and drive me home because the bus was nowhere in sight. It also once came late one morning when it was cold and rainy. It usually takes 20 minutes at the most to show up, but that’s enough time to make me late for class. It’s late about once every two weeks, ” Boone said.

While many students struggle with late buses, not everyone has to deal with this problem on a recurring basis. While every bus will probably show up late at one point, some bus drivers have a very consistent schedule. Freshman Fayiza Koroma has only had a late bus once.

“It’s not that big of a problem for my bus driver; he comes on time very often, and I really appreciate him for that. He has only come late once, and only by about two minutes. If the bus were to never come at all, I would take the regular bus home or call a family member to give me a ride,” Koroma said.

This problem has not gone unnoticed by MCPS and on Nov. 16, the county released an email addressing the situation.

“I am writing to update you on vital steps Montgomery County Public Schools is taking to address an urgent and ongoing issue concerning delayed and canceled bus routes. The national challenge of recruiting bus operators, including school bus operators, remains. However, we are committed to ensuring our students get to and from school safely each day. I am pleased to announce the reinstatement of a pay bonus of $25 for school bus drivers who drive extra routes,” MCPS said.

This increased pay will increase the efficiency and reliability of the buses since it encourages the bus drivers to make a second round, ensuring that all the routes are covered when some buses fail to arrive on time. An anonymous bus driver commented on the situation.

“Mostly all the routes can get covered, but many don’t have bus drivers. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the budget. Sometimes they’re sick. In my situation I can not do the extra route because I have four schools and community routes to drive. Some people are able to do that. I work from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30.p.m., so it’s not really an option for me,” the anonymous bus driver said.