“I’m frustrated.” Parents worry over late Roanoke City Public School bus routes

Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Parents across Roanoke City Public Schools are worried about their children’s safety after their bus schedules haven’t been as reliable as they hoped.

Jennifer Newman has two kids attending Roanoke City Public Schools.

“She’s 11 years old, first time riding a bus in 6 years. I shouldn’t have to worry about my daughter, if she gets home okay,” explained Newman.

On the first day of school, her son took an Uber to school because the bus never showed up. Newman says the same thing happened again Friday morning.

“We took them in an Uber. And it was six boys with Uber. It cost like 60 dollars.” says Newman.

She says when it’s time for her kids to come home, the bus has been 30 minutes to two hours late every day this week.

When she called RCPS transportation to find out where her kids’ bus was, “They told me to look on the app.” But when she pulls up her son’s route, the app claims it was unavailable.

“I’m frustrated. They’re not giving us any answers. They just keep putting stuff on Facebook or robocalls and that’s not acceptable,” added Newman.

Back in July, RCPS ran software to check for routing conflicts. The superintendent released a video message on Thursday addressing parents’ concerns about bus schedules.

“Since that time, however, we’ve had numerous additions and changes to student enrollment which overwhelmed our process and resulted in overlaps that were not caught,” says RCPS Superintendent Dr. Verletta White.

RCPS states there are many reasons for transportation delays, including parents not picking up their students at the bus stop.

“Again, if you have a student who is in preschool, pre-K, or kindergarten, or a student with disabilities who utilizes special transportation, you must as a parent or guardian, meet your child at their bus stop in the afternoon. If you are not there, our bus drivers cannot drop your child off. On the first day of school, we had 71 students who were not met by a parent or guardian,” explained White.

RCPS says they are working on improvements for drop-off and pickup times. Adjustments to bus routes will be posted on their transportation department website.