Ninety-minute school bus ride makes son sick, mom says

Nothing they can do, say district, bus company

CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio – A mother says her son's 90-minute school bus ride is making him sick.

And she wonders why the route between school and their home  – which is just 5.3 miles away - can't be changed so the ride doesn't take so long.

"I'm pretty angry about it," Martha Holt said.

Her 12-year-old, Mack, rides a West Clermont Schools bus from Immaculate Heart of Mary.

"Kid came home, looking as sick as he did, and threw up, after being on a bus for an hour and a half, in over 90-degree heat," she said.

"You'd be pretty angry, too.

"I think he suffered dehydration.

"I think they could look at their scheduling and reschedule buses," Holt said.

But that's easier said than done, said Jerry Coughlin, who routes busses for Petermann Transportation, which contracts with West Clermont for school bus service.

"We're running it as efficiently as we can to get them home," Coughlin said.

Like everything else, it comes down to money, Coughlin said.

"We need 40 buses, but we don't have 40 buses. So we got to start putting more kids on a bus, making the routes a lot longer."

Holt says overcrowding on the bus worries her, too.

"My son's told me that lots of times there's not enough seats on the bus for the kids. They're packed three and four to a seat with their legs are hanging out," she said.

West Clermont operations director Ed Dyer says one reason Mack's ride takes longer is his school is outside the district.

Dyer says the law requires the child's home district to provide transportation, even if it's an hour detour.

"Sometimes that's the best we can do," Dyer said.

Dyer said he hopes schools would prepare children for the long ride home.

"If the school knows it's a long bus ride, make sure they're hydrated, make sure they use the bathroom. That's a long way to go if you have to use the bathroom,"

West Clermont Schools says it has received similar complaints from other parents about long bus rides.

They say it's unfortunately a fact of life that some students will always be at the end of the route and have longer rides to and from school.

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