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havebuswilldrive
New Member

Canada
6 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  08:05:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi, new here and need to vent.
As you all know First Student has taken over Laidlaw.
Some changes are good, some really suck.
the vest i can see the point, they do make us easier to see.
Those "safety messages" every day however are down right annoying. Every morning the same thing...check your bus for sleeping kids. Then the notes that come with our pay, so and so forgot a kid and was fired, so and so forgot a kid and was fired, this was repeated in the same letter 4 times! I know some drivers do not bother with the checking thing, but where I work it has never happened in the 15 years I have been there. Oh wait, it did happen once, but the driver has been there for over 20 years and everyone loves her, so for her it was over looked....so much for threats and policy. If a company is going to make these rules then they have to include everyone.
Sorry, maybe not a good way to introduce myself but I am just getting really annoyed with this. Constantly being harassed with something we all know and obviously follow here is a pain.
Does anyone else have to put up with this?

Edited by - havebuswilldrive on 02/19/2008 08:08:56 AM

JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  11:02:30 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
''Constantly being harassed with something we all know and obviously follow here is a pain. Does anyone else have to put up with this?''

Well, yes, we all do, at least in these forums. The issue is addressed over and over, sometimes to exhaustion. I have to admit that the workplace intensity you present does seem to border on harassment, especially where management is also expressing that their bus drivers are 'boneheads' (or similar expressions).

There may be some sort of threat from the employer toward the managers prompting the saturation of this one relatively serious issue over that of more dangerous issues. Not sure but may be at least politically tolerable over not addressing the sleeping child post-check issue it at all.

This issue may be more political than anything else at this time. The situation with the bus driver that was not terminated may not be favoritism so much as political pressure from the parents involved engaging the employer not to terminate the bus driver.

I believe it is policy at Head Start to terminate the bus driver over this missed procedure. Regardless, in the case of my grandchild left on the school bus by a relatively new driver, our family rallied to not scapegoat the bus driver, mostly because the interdependent process in place had worked.

We presented that we would go public over this issue in the event the bus driver or monitor or both were terminated. We also wanted the driver to remain on the same route, because the kids liked him and that driver had demonstrated a safer transportation environment over that of the previous driver, and regardless of missing an important procedure one time resulting in our grandchild left behind. The bus driver and monitor were suspended a few days, then returned to the route.

This issue does not have to lead to scapegoating and termination in my opinion. It is adequately serious and does deserve a disciplinary response, but that response ought to be consistent with other workplace discipline issues, again, in my opinion.

This issue at this time may not warrant the intensity dedicated to it, a sleeping child has been an ongoing issue since shortly after school buses came into existence, is my opinion.

This issue I believe migrated to actual school buses over real concerns with daycare and school vans. Very dangerous to leave a child behind in a van, especially when parked in the sun -- much more dangerous than left sleeping in an actual school bus.

Yet, are vans, if still in use at your facility, allowed to park without first checked by someone other than and in addition to the bus driver and monitor post-checking the bus?

A real danger here concerning vans, yet the children remain even these days not covered at some daycares and school transportation facilities. (jk)

"Safety is a low priority in school bus operations. First it must be profitable, second buses must be on time and third young children must not be left on the bus when route is completed." ~ email from an industry expert requesting to remain anonymous.

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There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 02/25/2008 01:12:35 AM
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bus724
Top Member

USA
1609 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  1:13:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit bus724's Homepage  Send bus724 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the Forums! I can definitely sympathize, as I've worked for First Student since a year prior to the merger. You get used to things like the vests and safety messages, just accept that it's part of life. I've seen other instances of "zero tolerance for most cases" with the sleeping child issue, such as a high school age student left asleep on a bus for five minutes and nothing done because that location was short drivers. I don't believe the student was in any danger, but we all signed that policy stating we would be fired if we didn't check the bus.

You learn to live with the annoying little policies, but if you feel there is a legitimate safety concern, talk to your manager. If nothing gets done, go over his/her head, eventually you'll find someone who will take action. There's also a confidential safety/sercurity hotline for employees, if you haven't received information on it ask your manager.
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Rich
Top Member

United States
5768 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  4:30:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
First Student is a terrible contractor overall, and has an awful reputation at many of it's district operations. While they are a good operation in some areas, many of their locations are poorly run, poorly maintained, and they have an anti-union sentiment just like Wal*Mart.

Like Wal*Mart, I think First Student will be subject to intense scrutiny now that they are huge, and I think eventually their empire will start to crumble. I think the smaller contractors will start to reign surpreme again over the coming years.

You can't do school busing like Wal*Mart does shopping...



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BBInt.10
Top Member

USA
1042 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  6:37:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit BBInt.10's Homepage  Send BBInt.10 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rich

First Student is a terrible contractor overall, and has an awful reputation at many of it's district operations. While they are a good operation in some areas, many of their locations are poorly run, poorly maintained, and they have an anti-union sentiment just like Wal*Mart.

Like Wal*Mart, I think First Student will be subject to intense scrutiny now that they are huge, and I think eventually their empire will start to crumble. I think the smaller contractors will start to reign surpreme again over the coming years.

You can't do school busing like Wal*Mart does shopping...



I second everything you say. I know you know this story, but I'm going to tell it for everyone else to hear. There's a prep school in the area that charters buses from my company and from First Student. We had a snow day last Wednesday. A lot of public schools throughout this area were closed. Well, this private prep school gets a call from First Student the morning of Wednesday telling them that the two buses they had chartered that day would not be going out since the public schools were closed. The prep school tells them, well we're not a public school, and our activities are still going on. First Student wouldn't budge, and refused to send the buses out, canceling at the very last moment, even though at this time it was just raining out and the roads were fine. So the prep school calls my company. I work for a much smaller private contractor. We covered both those charters for that school last minute. I got the call from my manager at 10 am... at 12:15 I was at the school with my bus picking up the team. So who do you think that school is going to call for charters in the future?

I've also heard that First Student reps were told not to lose any of the newly acquired Laidlaw contracts. So when they re-bid on these ex-Laidlaw contracts, they're doing whatever it takes, including submitting bids they know will lose the company money, just to keep the contract. This can only last so long. I think First Student is headed down a path of self-destruction.

If all your problems are behind you... you must be a school bus driver.
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Peter
Top Member

USA
1054 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  7:03:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
I've also heard that First Student reps were told not to lose any of the newly acquired Laidlaw contracts. So when they re-bid on these ex-Laidlaw contracts, they're doing whatever it takes, including submitting bids they know will lose the company money, just to keep the contract.


This has been a Laidlaw tactic in this area for some time. It will be interesting to see if it continues, as our region's FS management has often criticized Laidlaw for their methods.

As others have stated, the quality of a location is due largely to the staff at that particular terminal. Quality people will often stick around at a well run location despite the relatively low wages, absence of benefits and miscellaneous corporate annoyances.

Spicer is nicer.
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william
Top Member

USA
1912 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2008 :  11:11:07 PM  Show Profile  Click to see william's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
The safety messages are mandated by First Student Headquarters for all locations and not on the whim of the manager.

William
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2008 :  01:16:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by william

The safety messages are mandated by First Student Headquarters for all locations and not on the whim of the manager.


That would probably include some sort of discipline threat were the mandate refused. Can still agree that is tolerable over not addressing the sleeping child post-check issue it at all. (jk)

FREE School Bus Safety Ads & Photo Library
Post Check, Hostage Takeover, Bus Fire and special effects photos now available Free to use at websites, in newsletters, memos, the local press, letters to parents and more. This is a very popular Website. If you can't get in bookmark the page and try again later.



There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.
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coolbusdriver
Top Member

Canada
1505 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2008 :  5:26:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
we also switched to First student at our branch. I like the safety messages as I feel they remind me of important things that I may not necessarily think of everyday since not every situation occurs every day. As for being reminded to look for sleeping children, I think drivers cannot be reminded enough of that as is shown in these forums by how often kids are left behind.
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BBInt.10
Top Member

USA
1042 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2008 :  5:52:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit BBInt.10's Homepage  Send BBInt.10 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Does First Student not have child checkmate systems on all their buses as standard equipment? It seems to me if they had checkmate systems on all their vehicles, the safety messages regarding checking for sleeping children are a bit of overkill. My company has a checkmate on every bus.

If all your problems are behind you... you must be a school bus driver.
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bus724
Top Member

USA
1609 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2008 :  5:58:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit bus724's Homepage  Send bus724 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Yes, but it still happens. We often receive memos about "another child left on a bus." Usually it's from a bus with a malfunctioning check-mate, a vehicle such as a van without check-mate installed, or on a layover when the bus is left unattended with the key in accessory. There were also a couple times a small child was on the floor under a seat, and the driver walked right past without noticing. Part of the safety message includes "on AND under every seat."
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guzaldo
Advanced Member

421 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2008 :  06:14:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
JK - mandate means you don't refuse it, it is just like a direct order in the military, people have options, do what the company requires or find another job that goes for managers, vice presidents and yes drivers. It really is that simple. No amount of crying and whining will change that, corporations are not democracies.
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2008 :  07:00:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Neither are all managers zombies. My years in the military did not mean being a zombie. Myself was trained in the ethics of military duty to follow lawful orders and to also think. Since a manager can choose they can also choose to complain, although I would see no point in complaining about safety messages, even when overdone. (jk)

FREE School Bus Safety Ads & Photo Library
Post Check, Hostage Takeover, Bus Fire and special effects photos now available Free to use at websites, in newsletters, memos, the local press, letters to parents and more. This is a very popular Website. If you can't get in bookmark the page and try again later.



There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 02/27/2008 09:35:19 AM
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guzaldo
Advanced Member

421 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2008 :  03:36:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Of course we are talking about LEGAL orders, GEESCH.
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coolbusdriver
Top Member

Canada
1505 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2008 :  09:14:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Those "safety messages" every day however are down right annoying. Every morning the same thing...check your bus for sleeping kids. Then the notes that come with our pay, so and so forgot a kid and was fired, so and so forgot a kid and was fired, this was repeated in the same letter 4 times! I know some drivers do not bother with the checking thing, but where I work it has never happened in the 15 years I have been there. Oh wait, it did happen once, but the driver has been there for over 20 years and everyone loves her, so for her it was over looked....so much for threats and policy. If a company is going to make these rules then they have to include everyone.

I am curious if this is just a rumor, or it actually happened. The reason I ask is because a similar story is going around where I work. Kind of reminded me of those urban legend stories that circulate on the Internet. If it is true then it is a serious breech of company policy and needs to be looked into.
Of course there are many breeches of company policy that get swept under the carpet all the time, I have been witness to a few of them, so it would not surprise me to hear it is true. Seems keeping butts in the seats to drive is more important.
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2008 :  1:02:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
''Seems keeping butts in the seats to drive is more important.''

Seems so. I would agree that desperation sets the stage for poor hiring practices, poor training, poor support, and that scapegoating aggravates every aspect of providing safe, calm transportation environments. Very sad really -- providers that fail to include options in dealing with this issue help create the very bus driver shortage they seem wanting to avoid. Seems dysfunctional to me. Would also guess that a million or more potential and credible candidates to drive school bus think the same thing that I think - not a company or facility I would want to work for. Myself have adequate access to other adventures -- I am where I believe most needed at this time. (jk)

The functional employer hires school bus drivers - The dysfunctional employer hires scapegoats.

Why a Video Camera is Necessary on Every School Bus in America
(On slower computers Pause the video player, let the video download completely, then play.)

FREE School Bus Safety Ads & Photo Library
Post Check, Hostage Takeover, Bus Fire and special effects photos now available Free to use at websites, in newsletters, memos, the local press, letters to parents and more. This is a very popular Website. If you can't get in bookmark the page and try again later.



There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 02/28/2008 1:26:42 PM
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bus724
Top Member

USA
1609 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2008 :  5:14:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit bus724's Homepage  Send bus724 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by coolbusdriver

I am curious if this is just a rumor, or it actually happened. The reason I ask is because a similar story is going around where I work. Kind of reminded me of those urban legend stories that circulate on the Internet. If it is true then it is a serious breech of company policy and needs to be looked into.
Of course there are many breeches of company policy that get swept under the carpet all the time, I have been witness to a few of them, so it would not surprise me to hear it is true. Seems keeping butts in the seats to drive is more important.



I can't speak for the original poster, but in my first reply I referred to a similar situation near where I work. I've been asked not to discuss the details, but I can assure you it was fact, not rumor.
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guzaldo
Advanced Member

421 Posts

Posted - 02/29/2008 :  05:54:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am where I believe most needed at this time. (jk)

Myself, would think if you beleived you are as good as you think you are you would want to be positioned to keep many more passengers safe and calm than just the ones you personally transport.

But that is just, myself.
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 02/29/2008 :  09:41:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What I think of myself is mostly irrelevant. My task is my task and that is enough to think about.

What others think that request my thoughts in earnest for change may be relevant, perhaps all that is relevant in the effort to help keep kids safe. My time is not usually wasted on whatever thoughts I can lend those sorts.

And my position?

Within the rank-n-file is an incredible position. Some of the best managers are not in as powerful a position unless these can figure out how to become interdependent with the rank-n-file.

Most any school bus driver can help bring change to this profession when interested – the school bus driver is a powerful place to be positioned when the goal is to help bring change. Would not be surprised that some do not understand that paradox.

Power is not finite -- it is fluid and abundant, something the founders of this country understood and cultivated.

What I do somewhat understand is nature's expectation to cultivate what is wanted, then maintain patiently for the coming harvest - the very reason I spend much time on my bus making way for the well behaved. They have the least authority, but the greatest innovation concepts and street smarts. For these reasons kids are my greatest assets to helping establish and maintain a safe, calm school bus environment.

By this time of year and virtually at every bus stop the message over the PA on my bus is along the line:

“Thank you for helping keep this bus a safe, calm place today.”

How many would prefer to give that message -- and it be true?

A little late in the school year but would suppose any can start planting for the harvest wanted a month from now.

Remember every day and often during the day to thank what you want. (jk)

"No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks." ~Attributed to James Allen

Click the link to receive a free customizable brochure (MS Word template) that can be reproduced and given to parents - "The seven highly effective steps to keeping your child safe" - Click Here for Link

FREE School Bus Safety Ads & Photo Library
Post Check, Hostage Takeover, Bus Fire and special effects photos now available Free to use at websites, in newsletters, memos, the local press, letters to parents and more. This is a very popular Website. If you can't get in bookmark the page and try again later.



There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 02/29/2008 10:26:32 AM
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School Bus M8
Top Member

USA
617 Posts

Posted - 03/02/2008 :  10:58:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit School Bus M8's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I think that first student should broadcast their 2 way radio policy over the 2 way radio. You know that the 2 way radio is only to be used in an emergency or when absolutley necessary.

Edited by - School Bus M8 on 03/02/2008 11:03:21 PM
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william
Top Member

USA
1912 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2008 :  07:03:23 AM  Show Profile  Click to see william's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
As a safety person, I can say without reservation that complaining about too many safety messages completely misses the mark. When it comes to safety, when is anything that will enhance safety at any organization "too much"? Besides, if people did what was expected of them, we wouldn't need all this emphasis on safety and leaving children behind, would we?

Managers, while not zombies, are not free to pick and choose what company procedures they will follow and how could broadcasting safety messages be considered in any way unlawful? Were not talking about the German Wehrmacht here.

During the past summer, we had the Child Checkmate System installed in all but a few of our buses and to date it is not operational in any, because the installers completely bungled the installation. Now we are experiencing problems with the electrical system in many of our buses.

William
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bus724
Top Member

USA
1609 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2008 :  6:46:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit bus724's Homepage  Send bus724 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by william

When it comes to safety, when is anything that will enhance safety at any organization "too much"?


When the message is repeated so often that drivers find it annoying and stop listening. Also, when non-essential communication is broadcast over the 2-way radio, it creates yet another source of driver distraction, argueably as dangerous as talking on a cell phone.
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busguyuk
Active Member

United Kingdom
31 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2008 :  09:44:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit busguyuk's Homepage  Reply with Quote


William, let me know what First Student location you are working from and what the Checkmate issues are. It will be sorted but let me have the info and we can fast-track a solution for you.

'The future's yellow'
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JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2008 :  12:42:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
''Managers, while not zombies, are not free to pick and choose what company procedures they will follow and how could broadcasting safety messages be considered in any way unlawful? Were not talking about the German Wehrmacht here.''

Well, at least let's hope a surviving few from the German Wehrmacht are not in charge of any facility in this country, although some might wonder if management is somewhat inspired in that direction at their facility.

Our TD seems to have policy-making autonomy and a lot of support from the administration setting the budget and obtaining the resources needed in our department. It is remarkable the stuff she has acquired for our department, including expensive equipment for our mechanics that has been needed for over a decade. I believe more stuff is credited to her presence in over the past few years with us than that of all the previous managers efforts combined over at least two decades. Some of it is a bit over the top -- the expensive computer software and software support is a lemon in my opinion that may die soon I hope. But for the most part whatever is really needed to keep us in top condition is provided. Incredible. (jk)

Click the link to receive a free customizable brochure (MS Word template) that can be reproduced and given to parents - "The seven highly effective steps to keeping your child safe" - Click Here for Link

FREE School Bus Safety Ads & Photo Library
Post Check, Hostage Takeover, Bus Fire and special effects photos now available Free to use at websites, in newsletters, memos, the local press, letters to parents and more. This is a very popular Website. If you can't get in bookmark the page and try again later.



There is no school bus driver shortage!
Properly train, effective support and pay that retains.

Edited by - JK on 03/22/2008 1:05:03 PM
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90ihcwayne
New Member

2 Posts

Posted - 02/26/2013 :  5:58:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit 90ihcwayne's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi, I'm at a Canadian branch in Ontario. I started during the Laidlaw acquision and can say I`m no fan of First Student. Agreeing with all of you that the safety msg 2 times a day is unneccary, it is more of a distraction, were professionals yet the company doesn`t treat us as such, they think of us as minions. The supervisors will go out of their way to get rid of you if you think independantly. They say that safety is main priority, but I think their more concerned about profit hence the zonar. First cries that they can`t pay us more but have no problem dishing out millions on gadgets, for OLD buses. A few drivers I`ve been talking to have mentioned losing time on the run since the implementation, and the company line is the zonar is easy to use, BS. The only first policy that makes sense is the vest. Ice grippers are crap, having a 6 yr old assist you in backing up is crap, Zonar is crap. If any other first drivers are interested, I found a news story that mentions the Zonar unit costs 895 per unit X 60000 first buses= 53,700,000 , and internet file storage 22 a mnth X 10= 220 per registered scanner. It will try to get us all to save fuel, run costs, correct any driving habits, such as quick accelerationé braking my driving is great according to last eval, but yet they`ll watch like a hawk. The company is always attempting to get us to all be the same, behavior, appearance, driving style their taking away the human quality we all possess. I believe the nazis tried that and it didn`t work out well for them. I certainly hope during next bid another company takes out FIRST.
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