Are More Kids Riding the Bus Because of High Gas Prices?

August 25, 2006 -- Posted at 2:23 p.m. CDT

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR -- Kids all across Region 8 are getting back on the school bus this week for the first week of school, but are some of those kids riding the bus for financial reasons?

"The prices have risen so much that it's cheaper for the children to ride the bus than it is for me to try to transport them to three different schools," said parent Shirley Truitt.

Some parents across the country are choosing to have their kids ride the bus instead of taking them to school so they can save money on gas.

With the numbers climbing closer to the $3 mark, for some parents, the free rides to school are a blessing in disguise.

"The busing is free and it has an advantage to us to help us money wise," said Truitt.

Bay School District Transportation Director Bobby Hutchison said he doesn't think the gas prices will impact the number of bus riders there.

"I don't think so, because our routes are not very long.  Our longest route is 45 minutes," said Hutchison.

Many parents of students in Bay take their kids to school in the morning when they're on their way to work.  Because of this, about 100 kids ride the bus to school in the morning and about 300 ride in the afternoon.

According to Dr. James Best at the Westside School District, Westside's bus rider numbers are up from 941 students last year to 980 this year.  Dr. Best attributes that to an increase in enrollment of 54 more students rather than gas prices.

Dr. Radius Baker at the Valley View School District said that they've had a 1% increase this year, which he attributes it to an 8 percent growth in enrollment.