The OPS Board of Education and Student Transportation of America will meet for a workshop Monday to get on track with bussing before the school year begins, and there are a number of changes. Last school year, STA had a driver shortfall so many students were picked up more than 15 minutes late, or never got a bus ride at all. For some this lasted weeks.
OPS reported that 56 schools from elementary to high school were impacted.
Monday’s update for the board says they will have significant improvements to customers service by phone and online, have started calculating routes months earlier, and would put more students on buses so they would use fewer vehicles.
Parents who dealt with last year’s crisis say they need to get it right.
“They need to figure this out because student safety comes first,” said Cama Charlet, a mother. “When I put my daughter on the bus in the morning I expect her to get to school safely and I expect her to be home when she’s telling me she’s going to be home.”
After the first weekend of school last year, OPS and STA identified 65 routes that weren’t covered.
“Lots of changes made from last year, obviously lessons learned, a lot more collaboration over the summer months with our contractor student transportation of America,” said Monique Farmer, Communications Director for OPS.
Having fewer buses would save money but also increase maximum ride times to 1 hour and 20 minutes. OPS says having fewer buses will be about efficiency.