Ames Parents Speak Out Against Durham School Bus Services

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AMES, Iowa -- Over the past few weeks, we’ve told you about problems with Durham School Services, the school bus company that has been hired by the Ames School District. Monday night, executives with Durham were put on the hot seat, as parents voiced their concerns.

"(A bus) was heading the incorrect way on a one way street and basically stopped the bus not only there, but half way into an intersection of that street and another street. She then opened the door and started letting kids out at that intersection," complained parent Elizabeth Wade.

Parent Pamela Hefler also expressed her concerns. "There was one day that the driver was asking kids where the stops were and my fifth grade daughter who should not be responsible for this came home stressed out, crying because she says there are probably kindergarteners who don't even know where their stops are. They've never ridden the bus before. She's right," Hefler said.

Durham School Services representatives blame the problems, in part, on poor communication and last minute changes to routes and enrollment. But, they admit, the service has been poor and they plan to make changes in the next few weeks.

"Just want to end with an apology for the poor service and we're gonna move forward and address these issues as they arise," says Bob Ramsdell with Durham, "It was difficult to listen to the parents tonight and put myself in their shoes as a parent."

Durham also offered the district $25,000 worth of bus service for field trips at no charge. But it may be too little, too late. The superintendent says the district plans to re-bid the contract in the spring.

4 comments

  • Michelle W.

    Marshalltown CSD voted against privatizing their buses about 20 years ago. You lose all control over safety, hiring, pay, bus maintenance, who else is allowed to rent one or more of the buses, etc. I’m sure parents in Ames are wishing their district had said ‘no’ as well.

  • Samuel Steiner

    I rode on Durham School Services for 7 years in the Philly area. Most drivers didn’t know where in the heck they were going, so I, with my good sense of direction, led the way. (This was when I was a student) A lot of the drivers were foreign or didn’t speak much English. A lot also said I should become a bus driver or attendant. (No) Plus the people at the base were clueless half the time. That’s a shame in your area that you have to go through such nonsense.

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