Superintendent's Message Regarding Transportation - 9/29/22
Dear CCS Families,
As we head into our sixth week of in-person learning, transportation remains a concern for many. While we hoped to have all issues resolved by now, unfortunately, that is not the case.
I understand this may be causing stress and inconveniences at home, but I want to assure you that our transportation team is working diligently to resolve all issues as quickly as possible so that every student can arrive at school and back home safely, on time, every day.
With that said, I felt it was important to provide you with an update:
- I know there has been some confusion around transportation opt-in. All high school students eligible for transportation MUST opt-in to be routed. If you haven’t already done so, this can be completed in the Parent Portal. Go to: Parent Portal > Quick Links > Transportation Opt-In. If you have questions or need assistance, please call the FACTline at 614-221-FACT (221-3228)
- All transportation-eligible students, whom we are aware of, have been routed and are receiving transportation services - including Charter and Non-Public Schools, for which we also provide transportation services. The transportation department continues to improve streamlining routes for efficiency and has made significant gains since the start of the school year.
- The department reviews routes daily to determine which students use our transportation services as students enter and leave the district and routes change. Our goal is to have new students routed within 5 days.
- Like many school districts across the country, we are still dealing with a shortage of drivers. We are actively recruiting more bus drivers. If you are interested in joining our team as a bus driver, or know someone who is, please visit our website for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We are also working with the Ohio Department of Education and our internal teams to determine what additional short-term resources we might utilize to offset the driver shortage.
- We currently have 686 routes to transport more than 38,000 students. We are doubling and even tripling routes as needed. We have 538 active school bus drivers with an additional 20 supervisors who are also driving. Unfortunately, we are still seeing a daily call-off rate of nearly 18%.
- We have been using two third-party yellow bus vendors, V.A.T., Inc. and Universal Transportation Services (UTS), since the first day of school. They each cover 25 routes. We are looking to increase the number of routes from 25 to 40 for UTS and from 25 to 30 for VAT to offset the driver shortage we are facing. If you are having specific vendor-related transportation issues please call 380-997-7145.
- We are seeing a decrease in call wait times, nearly 40% less per day compared to the start of the school year. Most calls received now are requests for stop changes and late buses. We are working to resolve all of the issues brought to our attention.
As a reminder, all CCS high school students can use their Student Success Cards to ride COTA at no charge to them or their parents/guardians. Students have unlimited access to fixed-route transit services. Although this is not intended as a permanent solution, COTA can serve as a temporary, safe, and free mode of transportation to and from school for our high school students.
While we are NOT where we need to be regarding transportation, I want to stress that student attendance is very important. Again, I assure you that we are doing everything possible to resolve all issues as quickly as possible.
I truly appreciate your patience, understanding, and continued partnership in your child’s education.
Superintendent/CEO, Columbus City Schools