OPS added 50 bus routes, STA had less drivers

Posted at 4:54 PM, Aug 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-23 18:59:58-04

It’s been happening all over Omaha since OPS began classes last week, students left at the bus stop without a ride.  Parents are now getting letters of new change, but for some, the damage is already done.

Andrew Martinez is frustrated and upset that his son in 5th grade at King Science Center didn't have a bus pick him up for school for four days.

Tuesday morning was the first time he got on a bus.

"It gets hard,” he said.  “I'm just recovering off of back surgery and I go back to work tonight. I don't have the funds to keep driving back and forth and doing all this stuff but I do it because they're my kids and I take care of them as well as i can."

OPS and Student transportation of America are working to fix the problems.  About 1000 parents will get letters of changes in bus times and stops that will start on Wednesday.

KMTV has learned that STA was informed of the bus route regulations changing in the Spring of 2016.   On August 10th, STA was informed of the final bus route changes which included 471 routes compared to 419 from 2015.  The extra work was added because of school construction, and since kids outside 1 and a half miles of school now need to be bused.

STA officials said on August 15th, they informed OPD that they hired 40 drivers but 60 didn't return so they only had 404 drivers.

Now, 38 routes will be consolidated with others.

OPS will handle 10 routes and Chief will take 12 until STA has enough drivers on staff.  There will be 404 drivers for 411 routes starting on Wednesday.

STA’s COO wanted to apologize to parents for the inconvenience and thank them for their patience.

“In terms of process review and in possibly improvements we're certainly going to work with OPS and ask them work with us to identify opportunities to avoid this in the future," said Patrick Vaughan, COO of Student Transportation of America.

Martinez told KMTV that he hopes everyone involved in the planning sees how much the problems can impact families.

“It’s extremely upsetting I want the best for my kids and I do the best I can,” he said. 

STA told KMTV that they currently have 40 drivers in training right and have brought in instructors from the East Coast to help.

They added that they'll have 19 of those drivers get their CDL this week and can start picking up students after a mandatory 14-day waiting period.