- Whetstone High School
Transportation Update from August 31
August 31, 2021 -- The District’s Transportation Department takes its duty of safely transporting students to and from school seriously. Columbus City Schools bus drivers must complete rigorous training and play a critical role in ensuring timely and safe pick-up and drop-off of students while maintaining a safe environment for everyone inside the bus.
Since August 26, the start of the new school year, we have received several concerns from transportation-eligible families regarding late school buses, buses not picking up students at all, or parents not being able to get through our customer service line to speak with a representative. The District is not taking these concerns lightly and understands families’ concerns.
The transportation team is working to correct these issues, which can stem from many reasons -- the most notable of which is a nationwide shortage of bus drivers.
As the District’s Transportation Department continues to streamline its transportation model and to make its routes more efficient to address this shortage locally:
- They have aggressively recruited and provided training for additional new drivers;
- They have reduced the number of bus routes in accordance with the resources and drivers that we have to transport students each day;
- They have continued the suspension of Form 1 requests for alternate pick-up and drop-offs for the 2021-2022 school year;
- They have asked transportation eligible families to voluntarily opt-out of yellow-bus transportation to free up seats for students who may have longer bus rides.
WHAT WE KNOW
In order to safely drive routes for the more than 40,000 students attending CCS, charter, and non-public schools each day, the District operates a two-tiered drop-off and pick-up schedule.
- 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 the drop-off times at the end of the day. This recently has been caused by buses leaving their school locations late due to students and staff ensuring students are on the correct buses.
- 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.
- The reduction of routes means that some bus routes may be longer than what is typical.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
To improve efficiencies in our transportation services, we will:
- Provide additional support to our Customer Service Call Center and at our school buildings to handle the volume of calls and provide timely updates to answer any bus-related questions.
- Increase communication to our schools to let them know if buses will be late or early, which will allow schools to communicate more proactively and effectively with families. We encourage families to make sure their contact information is up-to-date in their Parent Portal.
- We are continuing to recruit, train, and hire drivers so that we can handle all bus routes efficiently. We expect to add additional qualified drivers throughout the fall once the required training is complete.
The District’s Transportation Department takes its duty of safely transporting students to and from school seriously, and we are committed to improving efficiency. The school bus is the safest vehicle on the road, and our drivers are giving 100 percent to ensure students arrive safely and on time.
Typically, it takes two weeks at the start of the school year before bus routes run smoothly. This process has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the driver shortage. We know this has been frustrating for our families and our students. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to solve the issues and provide the level of service our community deserves.