Northwest ISD is dealing with growing pains as more students attend schools. School buses are packed and some students are choosing to sit in the aisle for more space.
A group of parents are looking for answers and want more buses and routes for students.
“We are not playing around. We are tired of it. Something needs to be done,” Brandon Gallagher, a parent of a student at Chisolm Trail Middle School said. “You need to buy another one or two or three or five or however many [buses].”
Students have taken photos and video of the crowded buses.
“I look back and kids are on the edge of the seat in the middle of the aisle,” student Levi Gallagher said. “It kind of scares me because some bus drivers stop really fast and [students] have to fly forward.”
“Department of Transportation’s policy does allow children to sit three to a seat on buses,” NISD Executive Director of Communications Emily Conklin said.
Conklin said the Department of Transportation follows the load capacity of 71 passenger, 77 passenger, and 84 passenger buses.
“The district works with Durham [Bus Services] to closely monitor this and can confidently say none of the buses are over these capacities.”
"If the bus is over the load capacity, the driver is told to radio dispatch to let them know and wait for further instructions," Conklin said. "By law, the bus cannot move if anyone is on the floor."
"Each student is seated prior to the bus leaving the school or a stop," Kate Walden, Durham School Services Communications Director said. "When a student moves from their seat to the aisle, the driver must pull over to a safe place and ask the student to sit in a seat."
NISD serves three counties and 14 communities with 169 bus routes for approximately 14,000 students.