May Issue
May 22nd 2023
77°F in Pasadena, CA
Scattered clouds ↑81° ↓67°
May Issue
May 22nd 2023
77°F in Pasadena, CA
Scattered clouds ↑81° ↓67°

Recent Busing Failures in PUSD

Why your bus never came


Mission School Transportation lot in Pasadena / Photo credit: Google Maps

As any student whose gone on a field trip recently can attest, Pasadena High School has problems with school busing. Buses show up late, or even not at all, leaving students and staff waiting. Even when reservations have been made for buses in far advance, buses sometimes cancel last minute, a day or even hour before they were set to depart. This issue affects wide swathes of the student population, from our sports teams to academies to music groups to clubs.

Take the example of our school’s arts academy, CAMAD, which had planned a weekend trip for their seniors to celebrate the end of the year. The bus they scheduled to take them up to Pali Mountain canceled on them a few days before the trip. In order to ensure that the students would still be able to go on the trip that they had been planning for, the arts academy paid a large amount of money to ensure that a bus would be there to transport them. In another instance, buses that were scheduled to show up at 8:30 in the morning instead didn’t show up until 10:00am. These experiences are frustrating for everyone involved and upsets groups who have been planning for trips for weeks. The unreliability of the buses makes teachers hesitant to schedule future field trips, lest they get canceled.

To identify the extent of the issue, a research group of students, Phoebe Prentice (11), Shane Vandevelde (11), and Chloe Vuong (11), created a survey measuring the impact of busing failures. Their results reflected the sentiments of students at the time.

  • Around 87% of respondents stated that they had problems with buses showing up late to transport them to their destination. This issue directly impacted the length of students’ field trips—around half of the polled students complained about lost time on field trips due to late buses. Fifty-eight percent of students also reported that they waited anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour for buses to show up.
  • The majority of respondents have had buses cancel on them the day of their trip, which affected their event they were attending and often forced them to find alternate last-minute modes of transportation. Other field trips were canceled entirely the day of.

Interviewed teachers echoed the complaints of students: “Buses will cancel at the last minute and they don’t tell you.” Teachers also expressed concerns about the very function of field trips being hindered by the issues: “Field trips are getting cut short majorly, and I feel that it affects the students’ opportunities to get more of a learning experience while on [the] trip.” Finally, the busing impacts weren’t for lack of trying on the teacher’s end: “Communication is very poor between the transportation department in the district and anyone else . . . . Even contacting the [bus company] directly does not solve any of the issues.”

The student research group also discovered a document outlining Mission School Transportation’s bid to transport students for PUSD, where they committed to having their buses arrive at their designated pickup point a minimum of ten minutes early. From the survey, ninety percent of students had buses arrive over 15 minutes late, and more than 50% had buses arrive over half an hour late. Mission School Transportation’s actions blatantly contradict their promises. The district needs to hold Mission School Transportation accountable by either terminating their partnership or demanding change. Our students deserve better.