‘Something has to change’: Chesterfield school bus woes continue

Updated: Sep. 4, 2019 at 6:49 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - On the second day of school in Chesterfield County, more parents are sharing their stories and frustrations with the school system’s transportation department.

“Something has to change. We are going to end up having no drivers, kids are scared to get on buses," said one mom who did not want to be identified.

The mother says she used the Versatrans My Stop App to track her 2nd grader’s bus at the end of the first day of school, but it turned into moments of panic.

“When we got to the bus stop, we we watched the app for an hour," she explained. “It showed she was on a bus going all around Charter Colony, Woolridge, Courthouse. At 5:30 (p.m) the bus showed back up at the school. So one of my friends lives over there, she went back and said your ‘kid is not on the bus’.”

While she knew her daughter was on a different bus and likely safe, she was still concerned not knowing what bus and route her child had ended up on. The mother says the principal of her child’s school, Greenfield Elementary, stepped in to help, tracking down her child’s bus.

The little girl’s bus was scheduled to arrive at at 4:07 p.m. at a neighborhood stop, but by 6:30 p.m. the children were driven back to Greenfield Elementary and picked up by their parents from school.

“It was so stressful I didn’t even get to say, ‘how was your day?’ Did you love your teacher?'" the mother explained.

The principal also sent a letter home to parents thanking them for their patience, and reassuring parents that Greenfield plans to work closely with the transportation department to make positive changes.

“It’s awful. They had all summer to plan for this,” the mom says about the transportation department. “I know [the drivers] keep getting backlash from parents and honestly, it’s not their fault. I feel terrible for [the drivers], they keep quitting."

CCPS says there are about 50 bus driver vacancies in the county, this mom hopes filling those vacancies will help alleviate issues with routes, late buses and no shows.

In a statement about transportation issues, the school system says: “We have seen some delays and sincerely appreciate the patience of our families during the first few weeks of school.”

Dozens of parents continue to reach out to NBC12 frustrated. They say the My Stop app is not showing their child’s bus, the buses are late, causing their children to be late for school, and in some cases, the bus is not showing up at their designated stop at all, so parents drive them. Parents continue to voice that they hope the issues will improve as the year continues.

HAVING BUS PROBLEMS? A Chesterfield County parent sent us these screenshots from the school district’s new bus route app that shows their bus off its route this morning. How has your experience been so far?

Posted by NBC12 on Wednesday, September 4, 2019

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