KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) – Bad brakes, no horns, and broken stop signs. Some Keller ISD bus drivers say they feel unsafe on the roads. After months of asking the company to make repairs, they turned to Consumer Justice.
Several drivers spoke to Cristin Severance on condition of anonymity. One said her bus horn has been broken for six months. “It makes me very anxious and nervous that someone might get hit because too many times cars don’t stop for the loading lights, and I can’t warn the kids at all.”
Another driver said she has the same issue, so she carries an air horn in case of emergency. Yet another driver said her left turn signal hasn’t worked for almost the entire school year. She was given an alternate bus to drive only to find its stop sign didn’t work. Two drivers say their brakes are bad.
Another issue — vehicle inspections. A quick drive through the alternative bus lot at Fossil Ridge High School revealed at least four buses with expired inspection stickers and two with no stickers at all. The drivers say they are also concerned about the security of that lot.
Drivers can report issues on an electronic system called a “Zone R.” They say they submit reports almost daily. “If after 30 days it still hasn’t been addressed, we’re supposed to come to the office and fill out a slip,” said one driver. “I’ve done that and my horn still doesn’t work.”
The drivers say it’s not just mechanical issues. Several say their CDL licenses were “downgraded” because managers failed to send the proper paperwork to DPS in a timely manner. And they say there is a lack of security for the buses at the alternative bus lot outside Fossil Ridge High School. Several drivers say a homeless man is spending the night on the buses. “He’s coming in taking clothing to instruments — anything he can find.” Another told us, “We believe he’s going to the bathroom on the bus because of certain smells.”
Drivers say they don’t blame Keller ISD — they blame the transportation company, Durham School Services. “They know if the parents were to find out… that these kinds of problems were on the buses… they wouldn’t let their kids on the bus.” Another added, “We’re the ones that speak up because we know it’s wrong.”
A spokesperson for Durham said since Consumer Justice brought these issues to light, the company has sent five additional employees to Keller and are inspecting the maintenance records for all 200 buses. Drivers told CBS11 repairs began happening the day Consumer Justice called the district and Durham.
Durham also says it has an anonymous hotline for drivers to report issues, and that drivers have the authority to refuse to drive any bus they feel is unsafe.