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Whistleblower: Fargo school buses overcrowded, unsafe

Fargo School Bus
Fargo School Bus(KVLY)
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 1:07 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - With the first week of students back in the classroom wrapping up, some parents have taken to social media and our whistleblower hotline with concerns of overcrowding on school busses.

A Fargo parent who did not want to go on camera reached out to our whistleblower hotline saying the busses are so crowded students have to sit 3 to a seat or on the floor for the ride to and from school.

Valley Bus GM John Mclaughlin said he is fully aware of overcrowding issues on some buses, and that it’s normal to happen at some levels at the start of every school year.

However, Mclaughlin said this year is especially challenging coming from last year where numbers of students who rode the bus to school were low from “COVID complications and issues.”

He said now that school is in session the company can take a head count and fix with the overcrowding issue on a route-by-route basis.

According to Mclaughlin, about 4 routes between the north and south side will need adjustments, but he hasn’t heard of any buses going over the legal limits of number of students allowed on each bus.

He said they are looking into changing stops from one bus to another to balance the number of students on each bus or adding more buses to the routes.

“This is a normal process at the start of each year, but especially challenging this year due to the different school class structures existing under COVID,” said Mclaughlin, “Even the school district could not accurately predict how many riders there would actually be on every route, and they do the route planning, then give us the defined routes to run. We are working closely together to solve this temporary problem in as short a time as possible.”

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