Tulsa Public Schools announce new school bus routes

Wednesday, August 14th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Public Schools unveiled their new transportation plan Wednesday. And the cost-saving measures have cut more than 50 buses and their routes.

News on Six anchor Terry Hood went to the bus barn to find out how this new plan will change how your kids get to and from school. To save almost half a million dollars, school officials have trimmed more than a million miles off their bus routes. That means fewer buses on the roads and more kids on the sidewalks.

And that has some parents, like Mary Armstrong scared. “That means our children are going to be crossing Harvard, 11th, Lewis, Utica. And these are just 5th grade and under. School starts at 8:45. It's scary." A mile and a half. That's the distance many Tulsa Public School students will have to walk to get to school. Students who live within a mile and half of their school walk anyway, now students who ride the bus will walk the same distance to a central bus stop to catch their bus.

Tulsa School transportation director Bob Haddox: "We're not asking students who now are going to have to go to the centralized school bus stops to do anything differently than over half the student population already does in the school walk zone." But that explanation isn't easing Mary Armstrong's fears. "We have over a 1,000 children here and who knows if they're going to make it here on Monday. How safe they're gonna be when they do get here. Or how we're gonna manage?”

The district is arming schools with road maps. The blue lines and yellow circles designate the walk zones, central stops and bus routes. School officials say there will only be 35-40 students at each stop. And they're also manning these stops to make sure they're safe. Bob Haddox, "What we will do is have all those supervisors out there constantly for as long as it takes to make sure that we're satisfied that these stops are safe and that if we have to modify any of the stops because of any safety concerns we're not going to be rigid about that we'll look at it.”

And the district is also looking to parents. For more of this, walking their own kids to school. Mary Armstrong: "We're just going to have to gather up between ourselves to protect our children you know get people on your block to understand what's going on and get our kids to school safe.”

School officials are distributing bus route posters to area Quik Trips and Wal-Mart stores.