The Omaha Public School District faced major bussing issues at the beginning of last school year that resulted in students not being picked up, buses being late, and frustrated students and parents.
The district and Student Transportation of America are hoping to avoid those problems this year and presented changes to the transportation plan to the OPS board Monday night.
One big issue last year was a shortage of drivers, but the district and STA said that as of right now they have enough drivers for the start of the school year.
“We have 332 routes and 427 drivers on hand, so you can see that is an excess of 85 plus drivers that we have that we have to find a home for, it is great to be in that position" said STA Director of Operations David Prince. He said they hope to have a better system of the same driver, same route, and the ability to track buses better.
Board member Matt Pearlman asked, “Can you assure OPS families that there will be a driver for every single bus on day one?”
Price answered that he was 97% sure, then changed his answer to 100% later on.
The district said they are also looking at more updated ways of tracking students.
“What we focused on initially is getting an application where a student is if they got on or off the bus,” said OPS Transportation Director Trevis Sallis.
Sallis also said they are updating their call system, there will be one phone number and over a dozen call takers at the beginning of the year in peak hours.
“We will be at a point where STA, OPS, and NET will all be on the same page with the same phone system prepared to answer the same system,” said Sallis.
The district will have a dry run on operations at the beginning of August and also send out route notifications letters to parents sooner than previous years.