Parents Angry Over Unsafe Bus Stop
Like other neighborhoods, you'll find kids waiting for the bus weekday mornings, but unlike many other areas of Columbia, parents in one neighborhood are waiting with their kids.
Shana York, a Columbia student, leaves for school at 7:30 every morning. But she doesn't say good-bye to her mom, Samantha York, until half an hour later. Samantha walks her daughter to the bus stop every morning and waits with her there because she says it's not safe for Shana to wait alone. Parents like York in Stonegate Trailer Court want the bus to pick up their kids inside the park instead of on Clark Lane.
Parents say traffic on Clark Lane is too heavy and goes too fast. They are also afraid cars might be unable or unwilling to stop for the bus when it comes. The manager of Stonegate won't let her own kids ride the bus as long as it stops on Clark Lane.
"That's not a safe place up there's that's an accident out there looking for a place to happen," said Lori Foley, manager of Stonegate Trailer Court.
Two years ago, Foley told First Student it could use the trailer court's private roads. She assumed this would change the situation as First Student cited lack of access to the trailer court as a reason for stopping on Clark Lane. This year First Student told residents that it was unsafe to pick up students in the trailer park. Parents said they were never told why it was unsafe.
Neither first student nor the school district's transportation director would agree to an interview, however, they did say the roads in Stonegate are too narrow leaving buses two unsafe options. First, in order for a bus to turn back onto Clark Lane and stay in its own lane, it would have to turn too sharply and it could fall into a ditch. The other options is making a wider turn, but this would put the bus in oncoming traffic. First student and the school district both say that isn't an option because the entrance to Stonegate offers limited visibility.
But residents are still unhappy with the response from First Student.
"It's terrible, I mean they're rude and snotty with people. They'd rather care about themselves than the kids," said Samantha York.
"It's the disrespect of not even returning a phone call," Foley said.
The school districts also said buses are required by law to pick up special needs students at their homes. The school district says if a student in Stonegate has special needs, First Student would be able to pick the student up at home because the special needs buses are smaller.