Wake schools: First day of bus service was 'smooth'

khui@newsobserver.comJuly 8, 2013 

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    Because of the high volume of calls expected, school officials are encouraging parents to go to the Transportation website at www.wcpss.net/parents/transportation/ for answers to bus questions.

    The website includes a contact link, an online comment form, live updates on dally bus runs, the stops for each bus route and phone numbers for urgent questions.

— A year after the start of school was marred by widespread bus problems, interim Wake County Schools Superintendent Cathy Moore said the opening of year-round schools went smoothly Monday.

Moore said initiatives such as adding more bus drivers and putting more school buses on the road have helped to improve the situation from last year, when the district received widespread complaints about buses coming late or not at all. She said they haven’t received a large number of communications from principals about bus concerns Monday when 20,000 year-round students reported back to class.

“I think we’ve had a pretty smooth opening,” Moore said at a press briefing. “We haven’t had a lot of concerns we’ve had to address at the beginning.”

School officials are still encouraging parents to be patient during the first few weeks when buses may run 20 to 30 minutes late. Moore noted that bus drivers stop at every stop during the first two weeks to see whether any children get on or off.

Moore said parents at year-round schools who haven’t received information about matters such as bus schedules and supply lists should contact their school’s principal.

Extra scrutiny has been placed on bus service following last year’s issues, which were far worse than usual. As a result, Wake is reorganizing the transportation department, trying to hire 100 additional drivers, putting more buses in service and offering bonuses to retain drivers.

“We’re still looking for drivers,” Moore said. “We will continue to look for drivers. That’s a never-ending thing.”

The true test of Wake’s preparation will come Aug. 26 when traditional-calendar schools return, bringing back the majority of Wake’s more than 150,000 students. Wake ultimately expects to transport more than 75,000 students each day.

Hui: 919-829-4534

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