Not-so-magic buses cause difficulties across South athletics

Audrey MacGillis '25, Staff Writer

Missing Buses aren’t new for the GPS athletic teams — the job shortage caused by the pandemic has left South with transportation issues since last year. (Audrey MacGillis ’25)

The Athletic Program is rooted deep into South’s history and tradition, and with over 25 sports and 60 percent student participation, involvement in sports is a major part of being a South student. Having so many student athletes means plenty of funding and dedication is put into the athletic program to help it thrive. But with lots of athletes comes lots of problems, especially with buses and transportation.

Over the past year, many of South’s sports teams have had many difficulties with transportation. Buses have been late, too full or not shown up at all. According to Athletic Director Brandon Wheeler, there isn’t much the school system can do.

“Grosse Pointe does not have its own fleet of buses,” Wheeler said. “So it’s all third party and unfortunately we are still contracting out of this company, for the sheer fact that this is an economic issue –there’s a driver shortage nationwide.”

Due to the school system not having buses, the athletic department’s contract is with bus company, Trinity, which is the only company that is able to run enough trips for the amount of students on a day-to-day basis.

“The truly frustrating part is that there seems to be a communication error with Trinity and us,” Wheeler said. “My biggest frustration is finding out retroactively. I’ve reiterated over and over and it’s been done in writing that they need to let me know at least 24 hours in advance if there’s going to be a shortage so we can plan ahead.”

South runs 5 to 6 bus trips a day for the numerous sports, leaving many teams stranded when there’s no bus.

“I feel awful for our coaches and athletes being put in a position like this,” Wheeler said.

One of the teams affected was the cross-country team. According to runner Olivia Barba ’25, starting last year, buses would not show up on their meet days. Parents and older students would have to drive to the meet, putting a lot of pressure on everyone to try and make it in time.

“A bus was once 2 hours late, and sometimes buses (just) don’t show up,” Barba said. “I was almost late to a meet and didn’t have time to warm up. I don’t know what the problem is. The guys’ buses show up, but sometimes ours don’t.”


The no-show buses aren’t the only problems, however. According to swimmer Kate Rillema ’24, there’s not enough space on buses even when they do come.

“The swim team has so many girls and we only get one bus,” Rillema said. “We haven’t had enough space. We’ve all been crammed in there having some girls going three [in a seat].”

These delays and issues have greatly impacted athletes and coaches. With buses being hours late, or not even showing up at all, many athletes have been late to events, which impacts their experience.

“It kind of annoys me a little bit,” Rillema said. “Because if we order bus drivers, they should be on time, and the school should know how many girls are on the team.”

Agreeing with the athletes, Wheeler just wants everyone to have a positive experience.

“If I could drive kids myself I would,” Wheeler said. “That’s the truth. I really want our kids making it to their events on time and not the added stress.”