Rush Hour, Bus Hour – The New School Bus Departure Time

Students wait for the school bus at the end of the day.

Every day after school, the district’s buses shuttle students back to their respective neighbourhoods. And every day these buses leave the parking lot at 4:12 p.m. — which is a full 27 minutes after the new 3:45 last bell.

“I’m really not a fan,” said senior Ariel Robinhold. “I don’t like it in the slightest, because last year it left at 3:27, so seven minutes after school ended, which was fine, there wasn’t a whole lot of traffic. Rush hour hadn’t really started yet, but now since it’s 4:12, rush hour is in full swing.”

The 2019-2020 school year has just begun, bringing changes with it. Two changes, the half an hour delay in start time, and subsequent 25 minute move in end time, combine to affect the school bus schedules.

Could the buses be leaving earlier? For now, the buses’ leave time is determined by factors that the bus drivers cannot control.

“I have a tech transfer so that student is coming from Arapahoe Ridge, and he’s getting brought out here to Fairview,” said bus driver David Lucas. “I can’t leave until he gets here.”

Bus driver Matthew Womack faces a different complication regarding his leave time.

“I have about 40 to 60 kids on my bus, and they know I leave at 4:12,” said Womack. “There’s no way for me to know everybody is on the bus, so I always have to leave at 4:12.”

Womack explained the bottom line for the bus drivers.

“The schedule says 4:12, so we aren’t allowed to leave before then,” said Womack.

However, students do like some aspects of the new bus schedule.

Robinhold, who’s been riding the school bus for seven years, said, “One thing I do like about the bus is that I can get work done on it, like the ride in the morning used to take 20-30 minutes and now it takes 40 to 60, and at least I can read a book.”

Should students who take the bus look out for a future change in schedule? Yes, because according to Principal Don Stensrud, the buses’ leave time is supposed to be 4:05.

“We are going to get to the bottom of it, because it makes no sense,” said Stensrud. “We were told that it was gonna be 4:05, not 4:12. Seems silly that seven minutes matters, but seven minutes matter. I mean, some people just want to go home.”