Bus Riders in Tiers

Bus shifts are becoming more and more of a problem around the country because of a shortage of bus drivers. We here at Apopka are no exception to this problem. From an outsider’s perspective, these bus shifts don’t seem too bad, however, how do those who are affected feel? The Blue and White has interviewed a student affected by these shifts and a principal who is actively trying to control the chaos of these shifts.

The Blue and White interviewed AHS principal Lyle Heinz about the bus shift situation and how he feels about all of this.  Mr. Heinz responded, “I think in times of need you have to adjust to make it work, the importance is getting all the students to school so they get the education they need, it’s not ideal but it is as efficient as we can be given the status of the bus drivers.” Heinz strives to work around the bus shift issue, but there are still underlying conflicts such as deciding where the students should go after school. Mr. Heinz explained, “We started with the kids going to the north campus cafeteria, we evaluated that and well maybe we could take them to the main campus cafeteria and give them some supper. That’s quite a distance from the bus loop so bringing them back up from the busses, so we’re still evaluating what is the best system since it is so new for everybody. So I would say the distance from the bus loop is probably the problem, in the morning we haven’t had any problems.”

The school has been hiring early morning and late afternoon teachers, but the process seems to be, “a constant hiring and rotation process. The more we hire, the fewer days people have to work. There’s not a set number of positions, so I wouldn’t say we’ve hired them all since there is no end to the hiring. The more we have, as they say, the more the merrier,” says Mr. Heinz.

Mr. Heinz explained with us that students who ride in these shifts will not be the same tier for both morning and afternoon. “When this started we were told if they were tier 2 in the morning they would be tier 1 in the afternoon and vice versa. We’re continuing to evaluate ridership, as well, maybe there are some people signed up for busses who aren’t riding the busses, so we’re shrinking down the number of late afternoon busses, as well, Heinz stated.


Following up on that interview, we decided to check in on a Sophomore here at Apopka High School, Alondra Torralba. She experiences these bus shifts, so we’ll have a first-hand look at the problem from a student perspective. Alondra isn’t a fan of these bus shifts “because [they’re] coming earlier than they were the previous years, which is causing my schedule to have to be earlier, which is not helping because of the amount of school work I [have], which makes me go to sleep later and wake up earlier.” Says Alondra. “I have to be up at five [in the morning] and then leave my house at six, which is way too early cause I need my sleep.” Alondra also shares her experience of staying after school, “I have to wait a while after school because I’m on the tier two bus route which makes me have to stay back after school, which is not really ideal since I have homework to do. But I have to wait in the cafeteria and sit there due to no wifi, which means I have to wait to get home in order to do it.” Alondra stated that she would like the busses to go back to normal, “because I [don’t] have enough time to do anything, since I have schoolwork to do once I get home, and I’m also not getting as much sleep as I was before.”

Apopka High School and OCPS are facing these problems, just like many other schools and districts across the country. They’re trying their best to hire bus drivers to solve this bus shift problem. Hopefully, this problem will be solved by the end of the year so that students may go back to their normal bus schedules.