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Columbus City Schools to employ more customer service staff for transportation center

Parents of CCS students say school buses are showing up late or not at all.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus City Schools is working to combat a nationwide shortage of school bus drivers and will hire more customer service staff for its transportation center.

This comes as a response to a rough start to the year. Some parents say buses arrive hours late, and sometimes don't show up at all.

Parents of Columbus City School students say when it comes to transportation there are always challenges at the beginning of the year.

But this year seems worse.

The added challenge for some parents like Morgan Sindergard is that she works from home as a child care provider and depends on the school bus for her children who go to Indianola and Columbus Gifted Academy.

"I just felt like my kid was left high and dry,” said Sindergard.

She said Monday they waited nearly two hours for the bus to arrive for her son before giving up. She had to work from home and was unable to find another way for her son to get to school.

“It's just a very frustrating situation,” said Lillian Fetalaiga, a mother to two children ages five and seven who use CCS transportation to get to Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy.

“We've been going out at 6:50 – 6:55 in the morning for our 7:09 bus and we wait there until about 8:30 when the bus doesn't come and then I drive them to school,” she said.

Columbus City Schools says it is not taking these concerns lightly.

CCS says the transportation team is working to correct these issues which can stem from many reasons -- the most notable is the nationwide shortage of bus drivers.

A statement to 10TV goes on to say "these delays recently have been caused by buses leaving their school locations late due to students and staff ensuring students are on the correct buses."

CCS also says it will be adding additional staff to the transportation call center.

The full statement from CCS is below:

“This is the fourth day of the new school year. The District is not taking these concerns lightly and understands parents’ concerns regarding delayed buses and a busy call center.

The transportation team is working to correct these issues, which can stem from many reasons -- the most notable is a nationwide shortage of bus drivers. Since the start of the new year, we are seeing further delays in our morning and afternoon service due to our Tier II buses not getting out to pick up our elementary level grades until our Tier I middle and high school routes are completed, thus pushing back route times. These delays recently have been caused by buses leaving their school locations late due to students and staff ensuring students are on the correct buses. Typically, it takes two weeks at the start of the school year before bus routes run smoothly. The reduction of routes means that other bus routes may be longer. Additionally, weather, traffic, new or substitute drivers, driver absenteeism, unforeseen incidents, late releases, and city-wide road construction can contribute to delays in the arrival of school buses in the morning and afternoon.

We will be adding additional customer service staff to our transportation call center to take calls. The department is also looking for new technology options to provide more timely updates for families and schools regarding delays or changes in bus routes. We ask that families continue to be patient with us as we work to improve efficiencies in our service. Our drivers and call center representatives are doing the best they can to get students to and from school safely.”

Parents say they understand the driver shortage but are hoping to hear more communication.

Local News: Recent coverage from 10TV