Horry County Schools officials talk concerns over bus routes

Horry County Schools officials talk concerns over bus routes

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - While the school year is young, the district has been busy making adjustments to address the concerns of Horry County parents.

One of the questions focused on the timing of the bus routes.

"Most of your bus routes, from a state regulation, is a 75-minute bus route," said Jim Wright, director of transportation for Horry County Schools. "In Horry County, we're way under that. We've always been much under that here in the Socastee-St. James area."

However, there are some adjustments the district will make in the future.

"The things we listed on our web page as an ideal situation that we'll be home by this time, we're going to have to make adjustments to that time based on getting in and out of the schools due to some of the traffic and construction issues," Wright said. "Our plan is to try to have all the kids home within a 75-minute time period, which is the state regulation to what time to have them home. That's once the buses leave the school."

As for pickup times, buses for St. James Elementary are picking up students as early as 6:05 a.m instead of 6:25 a.m. The reason is because the earlier time is a normal district-wide time because there are new schools in the area.

Parents also reached out to WMBF News with reports of three students to a seat on the buses. Wright addressed that.

"If you're in elementary, that is the requirement," he said. "It's three to a seat for elementary. If you have a 78-passenger bus, state regulation is 78 kids for elementary on a school bus. If it's a high-school-route-only-type bus, it's 75 percent of the capacity and if it's a middle or intermediate school, it's 85 percent of the capacity."

Teal Britton, spokesperson for Horry County Schools, submitted a statement saying:

We are working to make adjustments to the routes, where possible, and to tighten up time for procedures, such as loading. The beginning of every year always has a few issues with transportation that require a little time to adjust.

When asked if there was room for improvement, Wright said there's always room.

"That's the reason I'm over here today. I've been up here all week trying to make those adjustments. We've added a bus or two to the St. James area to try to eliminate that bus being a double-routed bus."

Wright says the district has a shortage of drivers in the St. James area, but is recruiting bus drivers on Sept. 14.

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