Reduced RPS bus service means some kids walk farther through ‘high crime’ areas

Posted at 6:42 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-13 18:42:57-04

RICHMOND, Va. –  Parents and kids are adjusting after their bus stops were changed.

Cash-strapped Richmond Public Schools (RPS) eliminated bus stops as a way to battle the budget.

The change in transportation has forced some kids to travel a longer distance from home to catch the bus, which has some parents worried.

Keidre Tyler said her son Bernard, who is in 7th grade, walked over crime tape to get to his new bus stop.

Her son now walks almost a mile to board the bus, versus the one block he used to travel.

Tyler pointed out also that the number of registered sex offenders in the area has increased as the distance he walks increased.

He crossed over crime tape on the way to school.

He crossed over crime tape on the way to school.

The first week of school a police chased ended in a crash into a fence, near the new stop.

“Just thank God none of the children were hurt in the process,” Tyler said.

That’s not all, Tyler said. On the third or fourth day of school, the kids could hear gunshots ring out from behind the school.

She just wants her son to have a walk that is free of violence, overgrown brush in alley ways, sex offenders, and crime tape.

“While the safety concerns that are described are not unique to bus stops in Richmond PS, they are valid and an indication of larger issues within the community that cannot be solely resolved by the school division,” said an RPS spokesperson.

The closures were intended to save the city around $3 million and were applied to multiple schools.

The hub transportation system reduces the number of stops made by buses.

The number of sex offenders in the area.

The number of sex offenders in the area.

Students that attend Thomas Jefferson IB Program, Franklin Military Academy, Richmond Community High School, Maggie L. Walker’s Governor’s School, Lucille Brown Middle School, and Binford Middle School are transported via hub stops.

RPS maintains that it is the responsibility of the parent to take the student to the hub stop and pick them up from the hub stop when they return.

Elementary school students are required to walk up to three-tenths of a mile from their residence to their bus stop.

Tyler’s mother has been driving her son to school, from Henrico, because she is recovering from a stroke and cannot walk the distance with him.

Tyler said that the school PTA plans to be more active, and work together to see if they can help each other out.

“We'll have a list of parents who have transportation issues, get them together to see if somehow we can work it out amongst ourselves,” she said.

Although parents have asked for more crossing guards, RPS said that decision is made by Richmond Police.

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