Pine Tree buses prepare for smoother sailing on day two

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Released by the Pine Tree ISD:

LONGVIEW, TX - It was the first day of school and the transportation department at Pine Tree ISD was prepared to transport about 2,500 children on 45 different routes.

According to James Skeeler, Assistant Superintendent in Student Services, "It's a big day for our community when school starts and for the Pine Tree schools, safety is the number one priority."

Bus drivers spent several weeks prior to the start of school getting ready and driving through their routes said Skeeler.

"We had a few glitches on our first day that had to be fixed, but for the majority of children, it went pretty well.  Since it was the first day of school we knew we might face some unknown challenges – and some buses did run late for a number of reasons."

Skeeler pointed out that one way for parents to help prevent problems is to make sure their demographic information is accurate before the first day of school or as soon as they have a change take place.

"It's really important for parents to remember to give us any changes in address," he stressed.  "We want to help get the kids get to their new address, and having the correct information makes that go a lot quicker."

Jack Davis, Director Transportation recommended that parents show their children something familiar to them so they can recognize when they get to the bus stop and know when to get off.  "We have so many young students, elementary age, kindergarten and pre-K that'll miss their bus stop because it's not a familiar site to them," said Davis.

In addition to some students missing their stop or getting on the wrong bus, at least one child fell asleep and missed his stop.  Davis said every bus driver has at least one child who forgets their stop, but according to Davis all bus drivers are trained to walk the buses at the end of their routes and each has a devise for communicating issues.

"It's a full day for some of our little guys, and we don't blame them for forgetting or dozing off, said Vickie Echols, PT Public Information.   "We contacted many of our families in order to straighten out the problems, because we know it's very stressful when your child is not where you expect them to be."

"We did our best to get accurate bus information recorded, routes configured and mistakes communicated; and by the end of the day every student was delivered safely back home again," said Echols. "With parents as partners, we expect each day to go much smoother."

Echols also noted that parents can look at the bus routes on the district webpage – and click on the Transportation Department website.  A dedicated phone line is also updated daily for parents to check on bus delays or issues:  903-295-5106, option #5.