Parents share concerns about crowded APS school buses

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — APS students are back in class now, and that means waiting at the bus stop. But now, some students are struggling to find a seat on the bus.

Parents of students at Atrisco Heritage High School and George I. Sanchez school say pictures were taken on their kids’ school bus a couple days ago showing how overcrowded it is, and it’s raised their concern for safety especially after the school bus crash last year.

“That car accident is the first thing that definitely comes to mind. Seeing the inside of that bus, how they all rolled, and they were all flying around, to think that some of these kids on this bus are sitting on top of the seats just to be able to sit,” one parent said.

Bus drivers know students are not allowed to stand while the bus is moving. Large buses, like the one that’s been overcrowded, can carry 71 passengers with three kids to a seat, if need be, according to the school district.

“So I felt bad for the bus driver, because, you know, he even kind of seemed a little overwhelmed and not sure what to do in his position as well,” a parent said about confronting her student’s bus driver.

Parents said they called the bus company contracted by Albuquerque Public Schools about the overcrowding, but the owner wouldn’t do anything about it.

KOB 4 contacted APS about this issue, and they pointed us back to the bus driver shortage problem the district has been dealing with.

This year they have 40 bus driver openings and last year they had 71, according to the district.

Parents said they’re also frustrated after having to go in circles to get answers. They said the bus company refers them to APS. who refers them back to the bus company.

“I’m furious, that nobody’s taking action about it. The bus company hasn’t done anything about it when they know about it. APS hasn’t done nothing about it. And they know about it.” One parent told us.

APS officials said its transportation department is aware of 4 buses out of 385 that have had overcrowding issues – and said other buses have been called to help.

The district said it hopes to get these issues ironed out as the school year progresses. Officials added that they are doing its best to adjust routes, but solutions are limited until they can get a enough bus drivers.