Houston ISD: Bus changes coming after first-week issues
Houston ISD announced changes to its bus services Friday, including new pick-up and drop-off times for an unspecified number of students, after families across the district complained about delays and disorganization during the first week of school.
District officials said some families will receive notifications as early as Saturday regarding new pick-up and drop-off time changes, which will take effect when classes resume Tuesday. An HISD press release did not state how many of the district’s estimated 30,000 bus riders will be affected, and district officials were not immediately available for comment after the announcement late Friday afternoon.
HISD leaders also said they will add two more pick-up and drop-off spots for students taking buses to magnet schools on the city’s southwest side, bringing the total to 48 hubs. The district instituted the hub system this week in an effort to create more direct routes to and from campuses, though some families must travel farther this year to reach bus stops. The two new hubs are at Kate Bell and Parker elementary schools.
The changes follow a chaotic week in which many families voiced frustration with the district’s transportation department. In dozens of social media posts, parents and guardians said their children were not picked up at magnet hubs on time, drivers were not adequately familiar with routes and bus schedules were not properly mapped out, among other issues. As a result, children were late arriving to and returning from school.
HISD officials have acknowledged many of the issues, blaming them on first-week kinks and electronic errors, while pledging tweaks in the coming days and weeks.
“It’s imperative that we provide safe, reliable and timely service to our students,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said in a statement. “We will continue making changes until we can ensure we are meeting that goal.”
Families of about 13,000 HISD students received notifications Thursday evening about bus route changes, but district officials said the messages were sent in error and should be ignored.
HISD moved to a new electronic transportation system this year and changed many bus paths, part of an initiative to untangle the district’s complex web of routes. The changes were not made for cost-saving purposes, though HISD officials said the district could spend less on transportation in the coming years under the revamped system.
District officials are encouraging families to call (713) 556-9400 for questions or concerns about transportation issues. Updates on pick-up and drop-off times and locations also are available at www.houstonisd.org/transportation by clicking on the “Find my route” link.