CCSD families report issues with paper RTC bus passes, communication | Education

LAS VEGAS (FOX5)– A new partnership with the Regional Transit Commission, established due to a bus driver shortage, launched Monday morning in the Clark County School District.

Roughly 4,000 eligible high school students are now being asked to swap yellow school buses for city buses, clad with weekday bus passes paid for by the district.

But not all eligible families say they have access to those bus passes, and a Cheyenne High School mother said the barrier caused her freshman to miss school Monday.

“I had to write them and ask for an excused absence because the district didn’t provide for our kids to get to school,” said Brandi Rollins, whose daughter Alexandra attends Cheyenne.

Alexandra’s parents were busy working, Rollins said, and the 14-year-old does not have access to the RTC mobile app that students are encouraged to use to board buses.

“Allie doesn’t have access to internet on her phone all day,” said Rollins.

Rollins said she called the school office and the transportation department, and neither could explain when a paper pass would be given to her. She added that the department took down her contact info.

“I called, first thing, Cheyenne this morning, and she said that the lady who handles it is not in the office, and to call back tomorrow,” Rollins said.

RTC said Monday that the CCSD handles the distribution of paper bus passes for students without working smartphones.

A Regional Transportation Center located at 101 E Bonneville Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89101 on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

“CCSD has both the paper and electronic passes to distribute to students,” Sue Christiansen, Engagement and Media Supervisor, RTC.

The district said their information on how to get a paper pass was made clear. In a statement to our newsroom Monday, the district communications office said families were told that paper passes would be available in their school offices.

However, that’s not what Rollins said her family experienced. She said she’s been asking for a paper pass since the program was announced early last week.

“Nobody knows about it, nobody knows any information about it at all,” said Rollins.

Last week, she said she attended the question-and-answer sessions for parents, and that she spoke with a transportation department representative about needing one.

“he said that somebody would call me within two days, and that she should have a bus pass by Friday, and not to worry,” said Rollins.

By Monday, Rollins said the paper pass was still never given to them.

Around 10:30 a.m. Monday, she received an email from RTC showing a receipt for an app-based, digital pass, but “she can’t use it cause she doesn’t have internet.”

Its title said it was a receipt, and that she can’t use it for travel.

Still, the CCSD called the program successful Monday, and said thousands of students were able to navigate the program.

“Some parents indicated isolated technical issues which have been resolved. The district will continue working with RTC to improve the service for students,” said CCSD communications. 

Meanwhile Rollins’ daughter is left to play a game of catch-up from her missed school day. “We have to make up all the work for the four classes that she missed.”

She added that they’re going to try and find ways to drive their daughter themselves this week, until a paper pass is received.

Another family in the new program told us Monday that their child had issues with the program as well.

“My child just had to walk home from school. That is almost five miles, having to cross busy intersections,” said a concerned parent, who preferred not to share their name. “My child has the app, but there was no explanation to him as to where he needed to go for the bus stop.”

Our ride of the RTC bus outside of Cheyenne High Monday showed participating students are generally scattered among the public, in seating areas across the bus floors.

RTC confirmed drivers were not given special training for the Ride On program.

“While we have not given any new training to our drivers specifically for this program, our drivers have been transporting CCSD students since long before the Ride On program started and they are experienced with driving students. RTC buses are also designated Safe Places in partnership with Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth. Our drivers have all been specially trained to assist youth in crisis through that partnership,” said Christiansen.