DALLAS –– There were visible changes at bus stops Tuesday following a controversy over the school district's expanded transportation program that had unmarked vehicles busing students to campuses.
After parents complained, the Dallas Independent School District ordered that magnetic, fluorescent placards be placed on the doors, identifying the vehicles' affiliation to the district.
The move was an effort to make the cars look more official.
At the start of the school year, DISD quadrupled the size of the alternative transportation program. Currently, 2,200 students on 400 routes throughout the district are driven by the alternative vehicles. Children at Montessori, vanguard, magnet and special program schools in the district are now part of the program.
Many parents were frustrated with the district for not being more upfront about who would be picking up their children and in what car.
A spokesman for the contractor, Santa Ana, Calif.-based American Logistics Company, says it will no longer use taxicabs to move students and that the same driver will drive the same vehicle every day. Twenty-five representatives from the company were in town last week to help allay parental concerns.
The promises and changes are encouraging to Ana Arizmendi, whose son rides the bus.
"The first day it was one guy. The other day, [another] guy. I was nervous," she said. "My feeling is better because I know the driver."
Historically, Dallas County Schools, which runs DISD's transportation, has contracted alternative forms of transportation to pick up smaller loads of students instead of school buses.