COLUMBUS, Ohio — Parents tell 10TV transportation continues to be an issue with Columbus City Schools busses showing up hours late or not showing up at all but CCS said they are working hard to accommodate a complicated issue.
“I got a call at 4:45 from the school saying 'hey your son is still here.' This whole time I thought he was on the bus. This whole time I thought he was on the bus, so for an hour and 45 minutes he wasn't where I thought he was,” said Amy Beem, whose son goes to a non-public school with CCS transportation.
Beem said the bus never comes or the bus doesn’t take him home from school. Beem now has to take him home from school, and bought him a cell phone this weekend for his safety.
"So now I can call him. I FaceTimed him this morning and said 'hey your own the bus right?" Beem said.
April Johnson said last week family members could take her 9-year-old son to school when the bus never came, but this week, the lack of transportation is starting to affect her new job.
“Thursday morning. The bus did not come. Friday morning. The bus didn't come,” Johnson said. “I don't have that luxury to be able to you know, take a break, run home, take him to school and then come back to work.”
Johnson now pays for daycare to watch and take her son to school in the morning.
Season Williams said her son has special needs but hasn’t had transportation all year.
“When my son is not getting dropped off on time and everything. I'm freaking out like, Where's my son at? Where's my son? I'm calling everywhere,” Johnson said.
Jacqueline Bryant, the Director of Communications for CCS, said the new routing software the district is using has changed some routes for students because of the influence of high school families signing up this year. Bryant said that means some students have not received routes yet.
CCS held a virtual family meeting last week to address the issues. Currently the district has 556 active bus drivers, 20 supervisors and 614 routes. In total, they are transporting more than 36,000 students to CCS schools, charter and non-public school routes.
Bryant said they, like schools across the nation, are also facing a bus-driver shortage and actively recruiting drivers.
The district's transportation department provides six to eight weeks of training in-house and trainees are paid $18.50. Once training is completed, drivers earn $20.48 an hour.
In a statement, Bryant adds:
“The start of the school year is always a busy time. The transportation team is committed to getting students to and from school safely. The department is working closely with Alpha Route to resolve the routing issues and hopes to have a resolution as soon as possible. As we work through the complexity of our processes—differing bell times and recent families opting in for transportation, we have identified additional support to get students to school. We are working with outside vendors to assist with transporting students. For our K-8 students who have yet to be routed, we are diligently working on getting students routed as efficiently and quickly as possible. For our high school students, we are also partnering with COTA to provide a limited number of supplemental passes for high school students who have yet to be routed to get to school. Finally, we ask parents for patience as we work through the process to ensure everyone receives the service they need. The call center is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. We ask that parents calling for general information do that between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to open up phone lines for parents looking for buses in the morning and afternoon.”