JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Today starts week two of back-to-school for kids in Duval. DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene called the first week a success despite a lot of frustration over bus delays.
We spoke with DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene. She says transportation is always an issue the first couple weeks of school, but a driver shortage is compounding problems this year.
Dr. Greene says the district is working to fix the problem but, in the meantime, parents can try to work ahead by tracking their child’s bus route.
“We have a late bus website so parents can go to that website where we have listed and were telling them if that bus is going to be extremely late,” says Greene.
DCPS says they have over 900 school bus routes. Their contractors are in the process of hiring over 100 drivers to help with the bus delays. Between this morning and this afternoon there were almost 250 delays.
“The latest was an hour and 15 minutes that I’ve had to wait for him,” says Pastorino.
One local mom, Maria Pastorino, says the bus driver shortage is affecting her kid’s education early on.
“It’s effecting him because he goes to bed late because he does not have time to finish, and the bus doesn’t have access to a computer or anything,” says Pastorino.
She also says the bus delays are impacting home life.
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“Sometimes you have errands to do and you’re not able to do them. If I need to study or work, we need to postpone that,” says Pastorino.
Other than the bus driver shortage and the time it takes for drivers to learn their routes, DCPS says there are other factors in play.
“Students who are not here today show up tomorrow or many parents drove their students today and now will be showing up at bus stops,” says Greene.
Dr. Greene says those up and down variables can make it hard to determine if they need to consolidate routes.
I’ve reached out to officials inside DCPS and their school bus contractors to see if any progress has been made in hiring more drivers. A DCPS official tells me they are looking into that question for me. I should have answers by this Wednesday.