After a Feb 14 announcement that transportation would no longer be provided to and from after school athletic events for student-athletes, the district has employed third-party vendors to cover those busing needs.
Wayne-Westland Transportation director Rhonda Lyons stated on the Wayne-Westland Community Facebook page that “Unfortunately, we have a staff shortage in the transportation department and do not have enough bus drivers to cover these additional routes.”
Initially, students thought that if they didn’t have their own vehicles, they would either have to have their parents drive them to games or be forced to not participate in sports.
“For softball, I know that there aren’t a lot of girls that drive and getting to games will be difficult because we can’t all carpool–there aren’t enough cars,” senior softball player Leah Kennedy said. “If all of the girls can’t show up to a game, we’ll have to forfeit, which will negatively affect our season.”
After school sporting events range from 4 pm to 7 pm. As buses drive students from high school, middle school, upper elementary and elementary home, they do not finish their runs until after 4:30 pm.
Spring events are being covered by third-party bus companies. At press time, events in the weeks of March 25 and April 1 were covered, Principal Mr. Wegher said.
Many parents work and are unable to drive their students in the late afternoon.
“I think it’s really messed up because kids don’t have transportation to after school sporting activities and some students can’t drive themselves so some are forced to either resign from the sport or try to get a ride on their own,” senior wrestler Kyle Borthwell stated.
The sports department will see this effect as the amount of student-athletes may decline.
“A lot of the younger kids, JV and Freshmen, won’t have transportation,” Coach Polk stated. “I’ve already seen it trickle down to the middle school. I know they have canceled some sporting events and competitions because they couldn’t get there.”
Since attending and performing at games is one of the main purposes of school sports, there is great fear this decision could cut team numbers.
Many athletes fear their team’s chemistry will be negatively affected because they won’t have the down time and bonding they experience on the bus rides to and fro.
“The bus rides are how we bond and make fun of each other,” junior soccer player Othniel Myk-Ojomolade stated.
Senior soccer player Temilorun Myk-Ojomolade agreed.
“The best parts for the whole team was the bonding on the bus because it built up the chemistry,” he stated.
This decision overall angered many of those affected including athletes, parents, coaches, and bus drivers.
“I’m hoping that this situation gets resolved,” Athletic director Mr. Schambers stated. “I’m hoping that we don’t lose kids that are interested in participating in sports because they don’t have the ability to get to and from an athletic event.”