The city’s school district is taking away 37 bus routes from US Student Services of Woodland Park following “two egregious incidents.” The company last Friday left a child on the bus and on Monday one of its driver was involved in a minor accident while transporting four students.
“These are two egregious incidents that have put our children at risk and will not be tolerated,” said acting superintendent Eileen Shafer on Friday afternoon. “The district will be severing all ties with U.S. Student Bus Company as both of these incidents demonstrate gross negligence on their part.”
Monday’s accident was not reported to the district. A parent notified school officials of the incident on Friday.
Shafer said a police car saw the bus sideswipe a parked vehicle. Four students were on board. The bus driver provided information to the police officer and continued the route and picked up an additional student in violation of the district’s specification and policies.
A representative of the company said she was unaware the district was attempting to take away routes. She would not provide her name and hung up the phone when pressed for further information.
School officials had a nurse check the four students and their families were contacted.
Shafer has taken a tough stance against bus companies following several preventable blunders. For example, in last Friday’s incident employees of US Student Services failed to conduct a simple child check when dropping of students putting a child at risk.
In a second incident involving another company, A-1 Elegant Tours, a sleeping boy was left on the bus on Monday. In a third incident, another firm, Jersey Kids, reportedly dropped children off at School 15 on Wednesday and Thursday without handing them to school staff as required by the district’s contract with the company.
The three companies have been fined. Two of the firms were fined $1,000 each for their blunders.
The superintendent acknowledged it will take time to take away the routes from U.S. Student Services. She said her staff will work all weekend on this issue.
Shafer has required all bus companies working for the district to hold a meeting on Monday with their bus drivers and aides to review the district’s expectations. A district employee will attend each of the meeting to ensure the expectation agenda is addressed and attendance sheets collected.