La Crosse superintendent hopes new bus routes eliminate problems

First Student says the new bus routes are based on last years routes

The School District of La Crosse is going back to its old bus routes. After a rocky roll out in September, school officials hope the most recent changes will eliminate some of the problems.

At the beginning of this school year First Student Bus Company implemented a new bus route system, but it didn’t prove to be very effective. After receiving many complaints from parents about late buses and missed stops, the bus company tried to tweak the routes and bring in more drivers.

But in the end, the district, along with the bus company, have decided to just create an entirely new bus route based on routes that have worked in the past.

It’s about three months into the school year but for some, Monday, felt like the beginning of the year.

“Sort of the kin to the first day school from the transportation perspective,” said Chris Kemper, the spokesperson for First Student.

On Monday, First Student, along with the school district of La Crosse, rolled out a new bus route for students.

“For the most part, we have had a good second start,” said Randy Nelson, the superintendent for the School District of La Crosse.

But Nelson said it hasn’t always been like this. For the past several weeks, the school district along with First Student have been trying to fix the bus routes

“To be fair, the new bus routes we have had have really stabilized over the last several weeks. So those bus routes have been working, they just haven’t been optimal in regards to the length of time we had students on buses,” said Nelson.

“We could make slight improvements to it, but we couldn’t get it to the level of service we felt like it needed to be,” said Kemper.

So the school district and bus company decided to go out with the new and back in with the old.

“The routes we are experiencing right now are based on the old routes but they are not 100 percent identical,” said Nelson.

“Obviously there were some changes based on students moving, graduation, different schools, things like that but the new routing system is based on last year’s system which was very effective,” said Kemper.

Nelson and Kemper say the new bus routes will have some hiccups but it’s nothing like the problems they ran into earlier this year.

“We feel like we are getting on the path of providing the level of service that the community expects of us and that we expect of ourselves,” said Kemper.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s bus route, contact First Student at 781-3880 or email them at

The School District of La Crosse is in its third year of a five-year contract with First Student.