NEWS: Bus Schedule Forces Teams to Leave Early

Buses transporting athletes to away games are forced to leave extra early due to district-wide bus shortage.


Amelia Wiles

Senior Captain, Ming Da Zhang, steps onto the bus for the team’s trip to Gardner-Edgerton. Although the Varsity Boys Soccer team did not play until 7pm, they had to conform to the difficult agenda of bus routes, leaving at 1pm. With over five hours of downtime before playing, student-athletes have to find productive ways to spend their time.

Ember Klein

During the fall sports season, buses have been forced to leave early due to the Lawrence Public  Schools bus driver shortage, leading teams to leave up to five hours prior to competition time and miss afternoon classes so the driver can get back for their after school route.

In previous years, there were enough bus drivers to accommodate both sports and everyday routes. However, the same drivers are doing the sports routes this year. 

This means volleyball, for example, often leaves at 1 p.m. for a 5 p.m. game 30 minutes away. Freshman football and boys soccer have run into the same problem, causing athletes to simply sit at the opposing team’s field or gym for hours before even getting dressed for competition. Freshman football coach Zach Wormsley feels this causes many aspects of issues for his athletes.

“It causes [a] lack of focus. Mentally, they seem to not be able to pull it together ‘till later on in the game,” Wormsley said. 

Additionally, leaving class early has found its effects on students academically. With athletes being pulled out of school as early as noon, they miss out on important lectures and homework assignments for their last three classes of the day. 

While athletes attempt to do their assignments while waiting for their game to start, many of these facilities do not provide wifi, leaving students to resort to their iPhone’s hotspot or not completing their work at all. 

“It makes me miss school and classes so I have a lot of absences,” freshman football player Gavin Thompson said.

For Savage’s team, she has seen it furthermore affect player’s mental health. Although a player’s grades and performance are important, having good mental health is also incredibly important for students. 

“I’ve seen a little rise in anxiety just because they don’t want to miss things and they want to ensure that they don’t fall behind,” Savage said.

However, this issue does not stop locally. Nationwide, there is a bus driver shortage and a HopSkipDrive poll, 88% of schools across the country are suffering from a bus shortage.

Leaving six hours prior to game time, Senior Varsity player, Spencer Bentley, loads the cooler onto the bus. Proper amounts of food and water are critical for the players to maintain their energy during the extended wait. (Amelia Wiles)

Although this is a problem both nationwide and locally, there are hopes for it to be resolved by the next fall season.

“We just don’t have the bus drivers to handle all of the routes,” said head volleyball coach Jayme Savage. “We are hoping that we’re able to hire more bus drivers.”