So yesterday afternoon, the operations guy from BCPSS called me to let me know that the bus would be switched immediately. Another company – not Durham – would be transporting the Monster effective immediately, with bus run times that were far shorter – 30 minutes in the morning, and 35 in the afternoon.
Except by 4:45, the Monster had still not materialized.
What we found out later, while I was busy shooting off still more angry emails, is that the new company – First Student – picked up the Monster at school and had started home. Durham then insisted that they bring the Monster back to the school for his regular bus, and for some insane reason, the new company did exactly that. The Monster arrived home at 5:30 PM.
The response from the school about the issue yesterday?
In our attempt to go above and beyond our legal and moral requirements to provide the best possible service for your child, we faltered in the execution of our plan. First Student, wanting to be over accommodating, picked [The Monster] up 1 day sooner than scheduled. The Durham bus, in an effort to avoid being charged liquidated damages, made arrangements to have the First Student bus return [The Monster] for the transfer which caused the delay.
As scheduled, [The Monster] was picked up and delivered to school on time this morning and I anticipate vastly improved service from First Student. The appropriate punitive action will be administered as necessary.
Now… if you ask me, that doesn’t answer the basic question I had asked once I found out about the situation – who runs the bus routes, the contractors or the city? The city transportation director is not inclined to give me an answer. Further, I’m troubled by the phrase “moral requirements” – their moral requirement is to act in loco parentis, and I would never do that to my son, so they should be acting better.
As to my demand for the contract – I now have to contact the Office of Legal Counsel to request it. (I kind of figured I might have to.) I’m still going to go through with it, because I’m furious about how Durham Transportation’s been allowed to skate by without anyone doing anything about their horrible performance.
I am still unconvinced that there shouldn’t be people fired at BCPSS over this. It should not have required this level of my intervention to get things working properly.
On a positive… the new bus arrived early by five minutes this morning. The driver and aide seem perfectly lovely, and the seats have integrated five point harnesses towards the front for children like the Monster. We’ll see if they keep this up.