Parents in Houston ISD say buses continue to show up late or not at all

Parents from various corners of the city say they continue to have trouble relying on Houston Independent School District busses, which often show up to bus stops late and sometimes never arrive, according to parents.

For Christina Hooker, getting her 12-year-old son on the school bus every morning is hit and miss.

"The kids were used to getting on the bus like at 7:20," said Hooker. "The buses start coming at 7:30; start coming at 7:40."

Her son gets picked up on the south side of town and goes to Lawson Middle School. She says some days the school bus doesn't show up until after 8 a.m., and sometimes it doesn't show at all."

"The buses stopped coming for a while, and we had to take the kids up to the school," said Hooker.

When the bus doesn't show, Hooker says she and other parents shuttle groups of kids to school in their own cars.

"I've been known to get about eight (kids) in there," said Hooker. "They were sitting on top of each other. It was uncomfortable, but they got there."

Jorge Salcedo says it's a similar story for his 12-year-old son who gets picked up on the east side of town and goes to Hogg Middle School.

"It's been late constantly or it doesn't show up at all, which means they have to send another bus which is going to be at least an hour, at the least, which means he gets to school late," said Salcedo.

He says his son's busses haven't been reliable all school year.

"There's a particular picture of my son," said Salcedo. "We're waiting when it snowed, and it was very very cold, and we had to wait. We don't have a choice. That's the sad thing."

Another parent, Susan Green, spoke with FOX 26 in November, after her son had spent weeks waiting up to two hours for his bus to Lanier Middle School. Green says things have improved on her end in recent weeks.

"My son has his third or fourth bus driver, and we've had this bus driver for about three or four weeks, and he's done an excellent job, so for three or four weeks my son's bus has been on time," said Green.

As for Hooker and Salcedo, they say they've contacted HISD about the issue, but the problems persist.

"It's poor communication," said Hooker. "Their effective communication is very bad at Lawson."

Houston ISD officials say if parents have transportation issues, they should call the HISD Transportation Department and have their child's route number handy to help get to the bottom of the problem.

Houston ISD released the following statement Thursday in response to FOX 26's bussing questions:

HISD Statement 

Though HISD has more than 1,000 buses each day, just a small percentage of pickups are delayed. 

The transportation department has kept that number low despite numerous transportation challenges this year, including the creation of new routes for relocated schools and a higher than expected number of students displaced by Hurricane Harvey. 

However, we understand that any transportation delay or change — no matter the cause — can be frustrating, and we appreciate parent feedback as it allows us to address issues and insure we are offering the best service possible.  

To that end, the district has contracted with outside companies to help transport students, purchased additional buses, and upgraded its software system to create more efficient routes. 

Earlier this year, the district announced new school start times for the upcoming school year. We’re also currently reviewing all routes to insure we are fully maximizing our resources and holding job fairs to fill remaining bus driver vacancies.