DOE reassigns four Queens school bus routes after pushback from worried parents

The Department of Education (DOE) has reassigned four Grandpa Bus Company routes serving children in Queens to another company.

Stories of children waiting hours at bus stops, missing early morning classes and parents missing work in order to bring their children to school, have been circulating social media. On the District 30 Education Facebook page, parents have been demanding answers and improved service from the Department of Education (DOE) and Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT).

Some of the more extreme accounts include a 5-year-old girl forced to stay on the bus for four hours and a P.S. 85 father following the same bus in order monitor its route.

“I starting following the bus and I started calling parents,” said Mohammad Hossain, whose son was not dropped off at his normal 69th and Broadway stop last Thursday.

But Hossain continued to follow the Grandpa Bus Company school even after his son exited the bus. According to Grandpa Bus Company, Hossain’s efforts to call the bus driver to task frightened the driver who called the police and said she felt threatened.

“We had the driver quit the next day because she feared for her life,” said Corey Muirhead, director of contracts and business development at Logan Bus Company, which owns Grandpa Bus Company, about the incident. Muirhead also mentioned that the driver said that Hossain threatened to shoot her, which played a role in her decision to resign. Hossain denies making any threat and police do not have the incident on file.

When asked to release the name of the driver in order to get comment, he said he was unsure of the driver’s name and refused to give any other information. He was also unsure of the now ex-employee’s location.

An earlier response to a letter from Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, the DOE stated that they “have been working around the clock to fix ongoing issues and delays, including sending staff to the vendor’s bus depot every school day this week to confirm that buses left the depot, supporting the vendor in reorganizing their bus yard to be more efficient, processing additional driver registration and making some route adjustments.”

The statement, dated Sept. 14, stated that they had seen improvements. But Queens parents continued to complain about the long wait times and continued delays.  

Parents were not going to stop until the promised quality of bus service was delivered.

“I want to know the bus driver and at least Monday definitely I am going to follow. Maybe Tuesday. When I see consistency then I will say, ‘OK, now I can relax,'” Hossain said.