When Schools Cancel the Bus

How are students affected by schools canceling bus routes?


media by Andi Mack

A graphic pictures a frustrated student outside school waiting for the bus.

by Andi Mack, Reporter

Feb. 3, at 1:25 p.m., my bus route was canceled, along with 13 others. That is approximately an hour and a half before the school day ends, as well as all the time I had to find a ride with someone… including class time.

As it turned out, none of my friends could get or give me a ride. And on the verge of tears, I was looking around, trying to find someone to get me a ride home. I ended up getting a ride from a very sweet girl’s mom. Although I felt terrible for imposing my problem onto them, I couldn’t help but feel anger towards the school for letting me be abandoned without a ride home after that same morning they’d driven me to the institution.

Something I noticed while I was walking around the commons was the sheer amount of students that were standing around, frantically trying to call and text people to get them a ride home. It was chaos, and I felt so bad for them and the unreliability that had disrupted their ability to go about their day.

“It’s just annoying because both my parents work and I’m still a few months from getting my license, so I have very few options on getting home. I typically have volleyball [after school] and I need to get home to finish my homework and get ready,” Livy Arbuckle ’25 said.

To get a better understanding as to why they did that in the first place, I decided to speak with  the front office. Karen Brankin, Volunteer Coordinator and Health Assistant, said the school was not responsible for the cancellation of bus routes. The Douglas County School District (DCSD) Transportation Department is responsible for the scheduling and maintenance of bus routes.

I decided to give the DCSD Transportation Department a call to find out more.

I called the division relevant to RCHS bus routes, the Castle Rock division.  According to the phone receptionist, “Function of routes depends on how many drivers we have and how many are available.” The receptionist then transferred me to a manager. All I got was a swift decline and an automated voicemail. I left her a message and didn’t hear back. 

A week afterwards, on Feb. 22, the bus was canceled in the afternoon again, and on Feb. 28, I decided to contact them through the DCSD Transportation Department’s website. I sent the following inquiry through their customer service support:

Hello, I’m curious as to why there has been an increased amount of route cancellations, not to school, but to home.

Why is it possible that you guys can drive students to school but not take them back home?

Who/what is responsible for cancellations?

Why does this continue to happen?

Do you think there’s any way you will fix this issue/are you fixing it already?

Thank you.

After three days, I still hadn’t heard back. No attempt nor advice from their phone support, online support, or website to help me learn a bit more about bus cancellation. But what does Colorado have to say about this?According to Rules for the Operation of School Transportation Vehicles, 1 CCR 301-26, “pursuant to 22-32-113, C.R.S., the board of education of a school district is authorized but is not required to furnish student transportation home to school, school to school, school to home, and on school sponsored activities.” . 

Legally, DCSD is within their means to not transport students from school to home after transporting them from home to school. 

Are DCSD transportation services morally within their means to not transport students home from school after transporting them to school from home? In my opinion, no. DCSD should have canceled the school day routes altogether. Did this upset me? Yes. 

The lack of communication and responsibility the transportation office for the district has for students which rely and intensely lean on is absolutely unacceptable. I even suggest that a bill be proposed to bar schools from being able to transport students to school but not to home, and if that means a higher pay grade for bus drivers, then so be it.