St. Johns County

Lack of bus routes leave St. Johns County parents frustrated

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla — Some St. Johns County parents are frustrated about the lack of bus routes for this school year. Some kids can ride the bus to school, while others cannot; even though they live in the same neighborhood.

“How [do] they expect our kids to go to school like that?” St. Johns County mom, Maritza Bojorque asked. “You know, it’s not like easy [to] walk two miles. Okay? But it’s a 40-minute walk.”

Maritza Bojorque’s 14-year-old son is a 9th grader at Tocoi High School. They live in the Sevilla neighborhood in World Golf Village, so they’re just under two miles away from school. Her son is not eligible to ride the bus this year.


“I don’t think it’s fair for our kids to do this right now,” Bojorque said.

Santino Rivera’s kids are in the same boat. One is an 8th grader at Mill Creek Academy and the other is a 10th grader at Tocoi. But neither can ride the bus.

Rivera says currently, half the neighborhood’s kids can ride the bus, and the other half can’t.

“We’ve been using the transportation for 10 years is we’ve been here, you know, a while so to have it abruptly taken away was a shock,” Rivera said.

At the end of May, some parents got a letter in the mail from the school district’s transportation department saying their school bus service was being terminated. The letter cited a state statute indicating if students live less than two miles away from school, and there is an appropriate area for kids to walk, a bus is not required to pick them up.

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Parents are concerned because it’s a four-lane highway with a lot of traffic.

“And this International [Golf] Parkway, that is very dangerous and [has] a lot of traffic in the mornings,” Bojorque said.

Santino Rivera agrees saying this is not a safe route for kids.

“You always have to have your head on a swivel when you’re going in that area,” Rivera said. “And now with school in session, it’s just it’s a total nightmare over there.

Not only is traffic an issue, but parents are also concerned about the weather too.

“Are they concerned about the kids that have to walk in the heat – 45-minute walk, and 111-degree heat index like it was today is dangerous,” Rivera said.

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This change is happening as the district confirmed to Action News Jax earlier this month, it’s dealing with a bus driver shortage.

Parents tell us, they would rather the bus drivers do double routes like they did last school year, instead of offering them no transportation at all.

Bojorque said she is okay with having her kids “20 minutes extra on the bus.”

Many parents in the neighborhood say they just want the safest solution for their kids.

“If anything can be done, I would ask for somebody to come and reassess the safety of it,” Rivera said.

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