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Lack of Drivers Leads to Canceled Bus Routes for Bucks County Schools

Lack of Drivers Leads to Canceled Bus Routes for Bucks County Schools | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

In the Bristol Township School District, the wheels on the bus go round and round — except for routes 24, 30, 65 and 87.

 

Driver shortages prevented those buses from running on either Friday morning or afternoon, the district announced in a transportation update the night before.

 

“There are bus routes that cannot run or can only partially run on Sept. 17,” the announcement shared on Facebook read, along with an apology for the inconvenience to families.

 

"We are doing our best to transport our students with the drivers we have and working through the shortage to the best of our ability," the post continued.

 

The school district gave a heads up to families on Sept. 12 about the issue, writing that in some cases, drivers are doubling up on their runs to make up for the shortage.

 

Bussing to its Catholic schools continues despite the setbacks, according to a statement.

 

Warnings about the impacts of ongoing driver shortages, exacerbated by the pandemic, began coming at the end of last school year from transportation companies and school districts.

 

Weeks into the new academic year, Pennsylvania School Bus Association Executive Director Ryan Dellinger said that the problem had reached “a crisis point.”

 

A lack of drivers impacting schools nationwide and across the commonwealth is hitting close to home. The Bucks County Intermediate Unit is also dealing with a shortage of van drivers.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Dan S. - a Newtown Twp resident  - sent me an email regarding a lack and/or delay of school bus transportation for his children who attend Holy Ghost, Villa and SKD Regional.

 
As the CRSB liaison, I contacted Edward Tate, member of the CRSB, to get a better understanding of the issue.
 
"I've heard of problems finding school bus drivers and states employing the national guard to help," I noted. "Can you tell me what the situation is for Council Rock? Is there a shortage of bus drivers? Is there a significant delay in busing children to school. If so, what is the plan to alleviate the problem?"
 
"Yes," said Tate, "we have a driver shortage and we're working hard to address the problem. The National Guard? That's new to me but interesting" (for more on that read "Call in the National Guard? NY school bus driver shortage spurs call for action").
 
Mr. Tate also sent me a copy of a notice sent to CR parents by Matt Adams, Transportation Manager:
 
"Council Rock transportation, like many districts across the country, is in a difficult position this year... On a daily basis we require 125 drivers to run our routes on time. However our driver count is currently 10 to 15 drivers short of that ideal coverage, including an average number of driver call outs. First Student has hiring initiatives in place to attract and hire drivers and we have added new transportation vendors and plan to continue adding more when possible...

 

"Being short drivers means buses at every level; high school, middle school, and elementary are tasked with running multiple routes from the same school back to back, pairing routes sequentially that will guarantee the second and/or third routes in the sequence will be late...

 

"The lack of buses and extreme delays is unacceptable," said the resident who contacted me. "We residents pay huge tax bills to live in this coveted CRSD. I willingly pay in tax dollars and don't utilize the schools by choice for what is best for my children. (read 

“Council Rock Approves Preliminary Budget For the 2021-2022 School Year: Assumes a 3% Real Estate Tax Increase.”; https://sco.lt/4zniUK).

 
"It is completely unacceptable that the driver issues weren't addressed and planned for sooner. If I didn't foresee and overcome obstacles in my job, I would be fired or not be paid. If this busing issue is not resolved very shortly, I plan on forming a legal case against the CRSD and the township for fraudulently taking my tax dollars and not delivering the services they are legally required to render in return. 
 
"The situation is inexcusable, shows a complete lack of competence by the school district and is a clear example of why I don't trust CRSD with the education of my children."
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