Wake County Schools

After bus woes, Wake schools looking for smoother start to school year

Posted August 6, 2013

— More than 75,000 Wake County public school students use buses as their primary source of transportation, and the school system is taking steps this year in an effort to avoid repeating what happened last year when it was inundated with complaints about buses showing up late or not at all.

"We've taken a look at some of the things last year that did not go according to plan, and we are in no way looking to repeat any of those things," Renee McCoy, interim director of public relations for the Wake County Public School System, said Tuesday. "We are putting measures in place to ensure we have a better and smoother start."

Part of last fall's problems had to do with the district removing dozens of buses from service in an effort to save money, but McCoy says that the school system's full fleet will be out on roads when classes begin Aug. 26 for students on a traditional calendar schedule.

Bus drivers are also practicing their routes for an additional two weeks and at the same time of day schools start and end. The move is to get a better idea of what traffic patterns will be like once the school year begins.

McCoy also says the school system has hired an additional 16 customer service representatives to help field phone calls and an additional 30 staff members to map routing problems.

Buses have also been fitted with GPS devices to better track and troubleshoot routes, and parents will be able to access an automated phone system and enhanced online reporting tool to report troubles when necessary.

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"We want to be as responsive as we can," McCoy said.

Beginning Aug. 19, parents can go to the school system's website to check on bus routes, confirm stops and get phone numbers and other important information that McCoy says will help get the school year off to a right start.

"We're asking parents to erase what they've done in the past," she said. "Don't assume the stop was the same as it was last year."

In fact, bus routes won't list stop times, but McCoy says the schedules designate about 5 minutes, or 7 minutes in rural areas, for each stop.

So, for example, if a bus route begins at 8 a.m., and a child's stop is fourth on the route, he or she would need to be at the pickup spot no later than 8:20 a.m.

If a bus hasn't arrived within 30 minutes of the spot, parents should then report to the school system.

"We do not want to repeat anything that happened last year that left our children in positions where they did not get to school on time," McCoy said.

The school system will also urge parents to decide early how their children will get to and from school and to commit to that mode of transportation, which should help transportation staff evaluate routes and more accurately determine how many students are riding buses.

McCoy says even with the additional staff and added measures, they still expect some issues. But she says the school system hopes to have all problems resolved within the first 30 days.

"There will be some bumps," she said. "There will be a period of time until we get things on a regular cycle."

16 Comments

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  • me2you Aug 8, 12:43 p.m.

    30 news positions were created to avoid this mess. And there's no money in the budget for raises or other needed items. lol

  • injameswetrust2003 Aug 7, 4:25 p.m.

    Certainly, it doesn't hurt the school system to have a former local media reporter as its spokesperson. The liberal media and liberal school board can now work in collusion with one another to keep future SAS reports from making the news.

  • Capt. Obvious Aug 7, 1:09 p.m.

    It doesn't matter where they build those schools, they will still be bussed.. lol how ignorant

  • KermitDFrog Aug 7, 11:50 a.m.

    "schools closer to their homes"

    "And people should support the Bond in order to build/support those schools."

    Agreed... we want schools close to home but in the same breath put down the bond proposal.

  • wakemom Aug 7, 11:15 a.m.

    I hate how even for middle and high school kids have to come from the back of the subdivision to the main road. And when I say main road I am speaking of road not even in subdivision. I think new rule is buses cannot come inside subdivisions anymore. Well at least for that age group. Problem with that is cars on busy roads leading into the subdivision with two lanes each direction flies past the bus.

  • krimson Aug 7, 10:18 a.m.

    "schools closer to their homes"

    And people should support the Bond in order to build/support those schools.

  • Ready2Taxi Aug 7, 10:06 a.m.

    WCPSS is working hard to not repeat "last year's" transportation problems. They're also working hard to continue old ones and create new ones. No problems with our bus schedule last year, was consistent and on time. Now, our school in western wake has a new improved 45min earlier bell schedule. The bus arrives one hour earlier than last year. At 6am. So what's been the result? More use of carpool at that school. Carpool last year barely filled the parking lot, ever. Now the daily line goes through the parking lot, out the driveway to the entrance, off the school grounds and about 200 yards down the road. This should make the bus routes run faster, though.

  • bombayrunner Aug 7, 10:01 a.m.

    Hopefully these people will be able to iron out the problems Tater or TooToo (can't remember his name) caused sooner rather than later.
    Hans

    Yea, Tata, and dont forget it. He was in Iraq serving our country and set up their school system from the ground up. Think about this next time you disrespect our heros overseas while you're mowing your grass in peace.

  • bombayrunner Aug 7, 9:59 a.m.

    assigning kids to schools closer to their homes would eliminate so much of this wasted money which should be spent on what the kids learn in the classroom
    Tunaboy

    You mean, the burger king of schools?

  • bombayrunner Aug 7, 9:57 a.m.

    ... nice, I like how this council works. fire the superintendant at a 250,000 dollar loss. But today, our bus doesnt even show and no one cares. I gave up and drove the kids to school everyday.

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