SWFL private school bus company faces social media complaints

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. A Southwest Florida company that provides an alternative to school buses is under fire amid social media claims about reckless driving.

A photo posted to a private Facebook group that allegedly shows a Lisdie Montano Transportation Company bus failing to stop at a stop sign prompted hundreds of comments accusing company buses of speeding and texting while driving.

But proof is hard to come by.

“They aren’t providing evidence. You have the picture of the van that was on the first post, but you can’t tell from that picture if the person is running a stop sign,” Pavese Law Firm partner Christina Harris Schwinn said. “You don’t see a stop sign anywhere in that picture.”

The man who made the original Facebook post didn’t respond to a request for comment. But others, like parent Antoinette Stroh, are speaking up about the dangerous driving they said they’ve seen.

“She didn’t even see the stop sign because she was looking at her phone,” Stroh said of one Lisdie Montano driver she observed. “Slammed on her brakes and she went into the street, she went into Homestead (Road), and then she had to back up.”

Montano, who founded the company in 2012 when her son was attending kindergarten, insists her fleet of 13 vehicles is safe.

One driver got a speeding ticket and was let go, she said. The company performs background checks and doesn’t hire drivers with crashes on their records.

“I feel very comfortable with it,” said Ailin Monoga, whose child rides one of the buses. “The service is good.”

Many of the commenters on the Facebook post said they filed complaints, but the Better Business Bureau has no information on the company in its files.

“They have not come to our attention through inquiries, or complaints,” bureau spokeswoman Barbara Cumings said.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have record of any complaint, either. All of the company’s buses are in compliance and have passed all required safety inspections, according to the Lee County Tax Collector’s office.

The Lee County school district takes a hands-off approach when it comes to private bus companies.

“Ultimately it’s the parent’s choice,” the district said in a statement. “If they give permission for their student to be released to these companies and drivers, then we abide by that.”