There is some relief on the way for dozens of frustrated South Bay families whose children were forced to walk to school this year after 20 school bus routes were cancelled.
The Sweetwater Union High School District confirmed it will add room for 110 San Ysidro High School students on one of the bus routes beginning next week.
Before the current school year began, the district announced it had eliminated 20 routes to help close a $30 million budget shortfall. District Communications Director Manny Rubio said the cancelled bus routes were all within a 3.5-mile distance of San Ysidro High School and the state doesn’t require the district to provide transportation within that distance.
Rubio told Telemundo 20 and NBC 7 a random drawing will be utilized to decide which 110 students get a seat on the two reinstated routes.
One local student said the lack of school buses impacts her on a daily basis.
"If I’m walking with my friends, it’s not that bad but if I’m walking alone, I start getting scared," said a San Ysidro High School freshman who must now take two San Diego MTS buses from home to get to school.
Telemundo 20 reporter Mar Gonzalez rode with the teen Wednesday morning to get a feel for her typical trek to school.
The high school student didn't want to be identfied; she said other students who have spoken about the cancelled bus routes have been bullied in school.
The teenager said she doesn’t like riding with strangers on the city bus.
“Mostly you see creepy dudes that keep staring at you. It’s kind of awkward. You don’t feel safe," she said.
During the transfer to the second bus, the teen and several other high schoolers were stopped from getting on board because the bus was full.
They had to wait several more minutes for the next bus to come through.
The teen told Telemundo 20 she will deal with having to take the city bus to get to school, but she wishes the situation were different.
"I’m fine with taking this [city] bus," the teen said. "But it would be a little better if I did take the school bus because then I’d be surrounded by people that I know."
Rubio said parents need to contact the SUHSD Transportation Department to enter their children in the drawing before Aug. 30. The department’s phone number is (619) 691-5527 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org.