HISD school buses served as rescue vehicles during Harvey

Last August, torrential rains flooded roads, streets, and highways, temporarily transforming them into lakes and rivers as the greater Houston area endured one of the worst disasters in local history.

As many people sought shelter from Hurricane Harvey, HISD Transportation Services team did the opposite — taking school buses out into the storm to rescue evacuating residents.

“This storm impacted our entire community — our students, our staff, our friends, our neighbors,” Transportation Services General Manager Tim Brown said. “It was important to me that we stepped in to help in any way that we could.”

With a department of skilled and knowledgeable drivers who maneuver city streets on a daily basis, Transportation Services worked with the City of Houston to coordinate rescue logistics and respond to urgent calls for service in the city’s most affected areas.

“HISD was more than happy to help the city of Houston citizens find safe shelter during Hurricane Harvey,” Transportation Services Senior Manager Tesha Foster said.

As the flooding intensified, many courageous bus drivers answered the call for help. Drivers were dispatched to every corner of the city, including Sterling High School where driver Antonio Arriaga Jr. — a former Marine — was stationed.

Arriaga said he knew the roadways would be complex for citizens searching for higher ground. He reflected on the day he saved several stranded families from a nearby neighborhood.

“To see the expression of gratitude and relief on the faces of these families…,” Arriaga said, pausing as he remembered the gratitude expressed by the families. “It made my decision to participate with Team HISD even more joyful.”