Students sit on floor, cram seats of overcrowded Chesterfield buses

Posted at 9:47 PM, Sep 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-09 10:29:29-04

CHESTERFIELD, Va. -- Chesterfield County parents and students have concerns about overcrowded buses.

Now Chesterfield schools are actively working with parents to address transportation issues as they arise, according to school spokesperson Shawn Smith.

One of those students, Thomas Dale High School freshman Amiya Cox, described her bus as “packed.”

Cox and several other kids in the Broadwater Townhomes area of Chester described their bus as way overcrowded.

“Gotta stand up, sit on the top of the seats,” Cox said.

“I was just used to sharing a seat with one person, not two,” Thomas Dale senior DeAujiah Edmonds said about her experience sitting three to a seat.

The students showed CBS 6 pictures of their crowded bus.

They showed what appeared to be students standing and sitting in the aisle, and having to sit three to a seat instead of two.

“Anything could happen, they could go in a ditch, there could be too many people, he can’t see,” a concerned parent in the neighborhood who declined to identify herself said.

Smith told us the system made changes over the weekend to address the overcrowding in this particular neighborhood, which the neighborhood confirmed.

“I’m glad they got a second bus, and she’s getting to school safely now,” the concerned parent said.

on the bus

Smith added that safety and security of our students is a top priority, and state law does allow for standing on the bus.

Still, students and parents wonder why some students were allowed to ride on overcrowded buses.

“What if the bus jump up, hit a curb, I hit my head on the roof?” Cox asked.

Cox said she was told the school system is experiencing a shortage of bus drivers.

Smith would not confirm that, but said, “as with other positions like math and science teachers, we are continuously recruiting for bus driver positions.”

Below is the full statement from Chesterfield County Schools spokesperson Shawn Smith:

"The safety and security of our students is a top priority and at the beginning of each school year we will make adjustments to routes as needed and as quickly as possible.  These decisions take into account the effect that changes to one route then have on other routes.  We have about 10,000 bus stops and over 1,000 bus routes."

"While state law does allow standing on the bus, we want to ensure that each child has a safe and comfortable seat on the bus when riding to and from school.  State law allows for school divisions to make changes within the first 30 days but we are making them as quickly as possible, again taking into account the effect that changes to one route then have on other routes."