Wake County Schools

Bus problems mar first day of Wake classes

Posted August 27, 2012
Updated August 28, 2012

— New bus routes that made children late to school and getting home got the start of the school year in Wake County off to a bumpy start.

Vanessa Harrison said the bus to take her child to Hilburn Drive Academy never showed up in the morning.

Laura Langenbach, Anita Leggett and Melissa Edwards had long waits for their children after school, despite the fact that the live only 2 miles from Apex Elementary School.

"It is frustrating, and I am nervous," Leggett said.

Edwards said her son didn't even leave Apex Elementary until long after class let out.

"They were in the hallway for about an hour," she said.

One Wake County mother even called police when her son didn't come home and couldn't be found after school.

Bus routes for 20 students at West Cary Middle School weren't showing up in district's computer system, so administrators held the students back to sort it out.

The 11-year old boy jumped on a bus on the wrong route, and his mother had no clue where he was for two hours.

"It is scary when you do not know where your child is," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

Wake school bus generic New Wake school bus routes hit bumps in road

Wake County Public School System officials said the other West Cary Middle students made it home with less trouble.

"As big as a county that Wake County is and how much we have grown, we do grow to expect this year over year," district spokeswoman Cris Mulder said of the bus problems.

School buses in Wake County make about 25,000 stops a day, and Mulder said transportation officials are trying to smooth out the bumps in the road on new routes. Dozens of buses were taken out of service this year to cut costs, maintain efficiency and keep state funding.

"There are going to be some longer ride times that are going to be part of that," she said.

Parents said communication would have made a huge difference. They said the district never alerted them to bus delays and the possibility that they children might be hours late.

Mulder said checking and double-checking each bus takes time. She asked that parents bear with it and said that the situation should improve each day because of the feedback they're providing.

"We are able to monitor and track and find out what buses are making their stops on time," she said.

150 Comments

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  • curlyred Aug 30, 5:22 p.m.

    To all those in Wake County don't give up. YOu need to get together and go directly to the transportation offices since they won't answer the phone. My daughter has lived there for eight years and the same problems occur every year. My son-in-law waits patiently at the bus stop until the bus doesn't show up for at least 30 minutes and then takes all the kids in the neighborhood to school. Thats ridiculous! In NY if your child is ten minutes late getting home or the bus is five minutes late getting to school the transportation department has some explaining to do! New routes don't cut it. In my district we have to go out and drive our routes 2 and sometimes 3 times before school starts to make sure we know where we are going. The district I used to work for had over 8,000 students to pick up every day never late for school and seldom longer than 30 min. to get home! Your transportation administrators do not have a clue how to operate.

  • eddiboucher2 Aug 29, 12:39 p.m.

    Yesterday was my grandson's first day of Kindergarden at Farmington Woods Elementary School in Cary and he was abandoned at an Apex school by the bus driver. After school he boarded a bus which was supposed to take him to his pre-school where he would be picked up by his Mom after she got off work. Because it was his first day she decided to meet him at the pre-school and thank goodness she did. She saw the bus go right by his pre-school without stopping. In a panic, she called Farmington Woods Elementary School. They said they didn't know what to do and left it to us to call the Department of Transportation. The pre-school he was supposed to be delivered to had the same answer. Nobody had a way to contact a bus driver. We called the Department of Transportation over and over and over and their phone went straight to voice mail. He was delivered to Salem Elementary School in Apex and the bus driver let him off of the bus without a parent to claim him, which he/she shouldn't hav

  • As if .... Aug 28, 6:57 p.m.

    As of 5:35 we were still delivering elementary kids on our routes, for schools that let out at 3:45. In all my and everyone's years of driving buses we have NEVER seen anything as crazy as this! How parents don't descend on our exulted leaders in Cary is beyond me.

    PS. They really don't care.

    They cut buses and increased over time for the rest of us that remain .Carry on....

  • US Born Aug 28, 2:52 p.m.

    As a parent let me just say to anna8julian I wish some of the parents commenting on here would grow up, if not, lord help their children!

  • anna8julian Aug 28, 2:32 p.m.

    So, the non-parent commenters have this all figured out and are quick to come up with theories on resolving this problem.......let's hope they "grow-up" if they reproduce.

  • NiceNSmooth Aug 28, 2:31 p.m.

    In the late 70's if you lived within 2 miles from school you had no choice but to walk or ride your bike, and believe me it didn't hurt me or my friends.

    lol..this is no longer the gool ol country neighborhood where everybody knows everybody and moms stay home to take care of the kids and mema and pappy are on the pourch waiting for little timmy to walk home from school. This is day of big city livin, traffic, paved roads, child molesters etc. Buses are a fact of modern day life in Wake county

  • Chris_H Aug 28, 2:25 p.m.

    Every year there is problems on the first day of school with transportation - it stinks but then they get it together. It was terrible about the one child but the rest of it is pretty much what happens every year and I have one that has already graduated from WCPSS and the other is a Senior (Thank Goodness).

  • yesimagirl Aug 28, 2:24 p.m.

    It's not about people not liking the schedule or the routes. It's not about there being glitches (things rarely run absolutely perfectly, that's life). Most people don't ask a whole lot of the school system ... Just please don't actually LOSE my kid!

    My son rides the bus and we dealt with some not showing up and some lateness. It wasn't that big of a deal for us, I just drove him. As I said before, this IS NOT the first year of this...it happens every year. This is just the first time it made the news. I feel for the parents who didn't know where their child was for hours at a time. That's an excruciating panic that really noone should have to deal with on the first day of a bus ride.

  • anna8julian Aug 28, 2:23 p.m.

    @SouthernBornSouthernImbred go ahead and have your kids walk on lake wheeler Rd at 5:40pm.....and wake up, we are in 2012 not in the 70's ~a lot has changed since then.

  • msw97 Aug 28, 2:11 p.m.

    @SouthernBornSouthernBred

    The problem yesterday wasn't about a mom's decision to let her child take the bus or carpool. What happened yesterday wasn't anticipated (we were expecting a little delay but not an hour.) Like those moms you commented about, my school is 2 miles away too but I was already at the bus stop and after 45 minutes I wanted to go get my child but I couldn't get a hold of the school to ask if she was en route or to tell them to not put her on the bus if it arrived before I got there. I didn't want to leave to go get her and then she show up on the bus and I'm not there (my child is 6 years old.)

    Plus my school is off a 4 lane road, you think my 6 year old should walk or ride her bike home? Our schools are not located well to allow for a lot of walkers.

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