The student news site of Englewood High School

The Pirateer

The student news site of Englewood High School

The Pirateer

The student news site of Englewood High School

The Pirateer

Ticket to Ride

EHS student athletes struggle to find rides to away games

 In recent times, there has been a shortage of bus drivers to take student athletes to their away games and this has created a problem for those without a form of transportation. Just at the Englewood High School campus, there are over 100 student-athletes without a form of transportation to get to away games. 

EHS student hop a bus home. (Dane Quintana)

Students Josue Lopez Diego, Dane Quintana, and Christian Almanza are part of the group that doesn’t have a ride most of the time. “Sometimes we have a ride there, but most of the time we don’t have a bus back so we have to carpool with teammates and stuff like that,” Diego said. Senior Dane Quintana agrees with Diego, “A lot of the time we’ll have a bus up there (to away games) but no bus back to the school depending on the sport.”

 

Christian Almanza, another student athlete at Englewood High School, says there were only buses for the games that were really far away this season.  Almanza also thinks it’s important for everyone to have transportation to their games so that no one gets stuck at the school. 

 

“I think it’s better if we travel together on the bus because it brings us together as a team and when people have to get their own ride, not everyone gets there at the same time. Quintana said the ride can be lonely without teammates, “It’s a lot better riding on the buses as teammates because we feel together as a team rather than being isolated from one another.” Quintana says athletes grow close to the bus drivers “A lot of the time it’s the same bus driver because we don’t hire many new ones, so they’re pretty cool and we’re even pretty close to them.” 

 

One major concern is students driving other students. Often these young drivers have only had their license for a year or two, “It is pretty scary riding with someone that I know because they’re still new drivers and are getting used to being on the road.” 

 

According to Kimberly DeHaven, the Director of Transportation for Englewood Schools, it has been a struggle trying to find new bus drivers for the district as there has been no new applicants since December of last year. 

 

During the week if a game is located in the metro area we can offer a drop only, which means we can drop the team off at the game site, but it could mean dropping the team off a few hours before the game starts, in order to get the bus back in Englewood to drive afternoon routes.”, DeHaven said, as well as, “The other option teams have is to be transported following afternoon routes, which means leaving Englewood around 4:15-4:30 PM and playing a later game,” said DeHaven in an email to the Pirateer. 

 

DeHaven knows the importance of student athletes having transportation to and from games, “The Transportation department only has one licensed substitute bus driver at this time.  This substitute drives all teams to all of the out of metro area games.” This demonstrates the urgency of the shortage of bus drivers in our district, “This is consistent with all districts in order to prioritize afternoon routes first, athletics second, until we are fully staffed.”

 

DeHaven also gives a list of reasons as to why it has been difficult to find bus drivers as of recent. In her email to the Pirateer, she outlined the needs and requirements for drivers: 

  • Driver licensing requirements – CDL (Commercial Drivers License)
  • Driving large vehicles is difficult
  • Driving school buses is rigid/hours inflexible “on call” status from 6:00 AM until 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.
  • Drivers can not pass the DOT physical as outlined by the Federal government.
  • Intimidated by background check/drug screening
  • Low pay in some areas and higher pay in other areas, so applicants have options based on pay.
  • Responsibility for children can be stressful to a person, especially driving up to 77 passengers with no other adult on the bus. 
  • Retirement surge as Baby Boomers leave the workforce  {The average school bus driver age is 57 years old.}
  • The new ELDT training is a minimum of 6-8 weeks of training and most new drivers do not finish the training. 

DeHaven said the other option teams have is to be transported following afternoon routes, which means leaving Englewood around 4:15-4:30 PM and playing a later game. Student athletes say that pushes home and homework time into the late evening.

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About the Contributors
Bryan Ruiz, Reporter
I'm in 12th grade. My favorite class is Economics. Something that everyone should know about me is that I like soccer.
Angel Gaucin, Reporter
My name is Angel and am a senior in high school My favorite class is the last class of the day I am the danger.
La Marr Sykes, Reporter
I'm a Junior in highschool. My favorite class is English. Something everyone should know about me is that I like sports.  
Dane Quintana, Photographer
im in 12th grade, my favorite class is yearbook
Jocelyn Abrego, Photographer
My name is Jocelyn. I'm a senior at Englewood High School. My favorite class is economics and I play soccer.
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