Problems Continue With Broward Bus Routes

Parents, bus drivers frustrated with inefficient route, delay of information

By Betty Yu and Christina Hernandez
|  Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012  |  Updated 7:19 PM EDT
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Some students in Broward County were still not getting bus service on the third day of school. Fathers David Morris and Robert Agri and mother Amy Chenoy talk about the situation.

Some students in Broward County were still not getting bus service on the third day of school. Fathers David Morris and Robert Agri and mother Amy Chenoy talk about the situation.

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Broward Parents Continue Wait for Bus Route Information

For a second day, many Broward County families waited for hours in the heat, in air conditioned buses and under umbrellas to find out what bus routes their children will take come Monday morning.

Broward Parents Worried About Bus Routes

Due to a delay in mailing bus cards, parents flooded bus depots Saturday demanding answers and wondering whether their children would have a ride to school come Monday.
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After Broward parents spent the weekend waiting to find out whether their kids would have a ride to school, problems with the bus routes remained days into the beginning of the school year.

For the third day in a row, dozens of students in Weston were stranded at the Edgewater Circle bus stop.

"In the morning, they're waiting in the heat, in the afternoon they're just sitting outside where the buses usually pick them up, just waiting and waiting, no bus comes," parent David Morris said.

His family has waited about an hour each morning for a bus that never shows up. It's the same story after school at Manatee Bay Elementary School.

"She comes home and her cheeks are pink, she's hot and flustered from sitting outside," Andrea Morris said of her daughter Berkeley.

Parents are keeping their cars close by, ready to go. But that is causing them problems. Many are late to work.

"I'm a working full-time mom, so I have to be at meetings at 8:30 in the morning," Amy Chenoy said.

Some parents also have to leave work early to pick their kids up. If not, some students wait more than an hour until a bus completes its first route dropping kids off, then will come back to school to get the remaining students.

Even though Wednesday is the third day of school, the fiasco actually started this weekend. Parents lined up and waited for hours at bus depots to find out their kids’ bus routes, because they were never told.

"I think it's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen," Robert Agri said Saturday afternoon. "I've never seen this done anywhere."

On Saturday and Sunday, angry parents flooded several bus depots in the county seeking answers from the district as to why bus cards had not yet been mailed out.

Parents spent an average of three hours waiting in the heat to obtain information on their child’s bus route.

Normally, bus cards with locations, times and routes are mailed out weeks in advance. The Broward County School District says this year, an administrative delay in sending out the cards caused the backup.

Parents across the county have been forced to drive their kids to school in traffic or make carpool arrangements.

"It stresses my son out cause he's very much punctual he's likes to be on time and he's like 'Mom, I'm going to be late,'" Chenoy said.

Her son has had a disappointing start to his fourth-grade year.

"The first day I didn't get to pick my seat at school because I was late," Jared Chenoy said.

The district said it welcomed back 236,170 students on Monday, an increase of 1,333 students over the first day of school a year ago.

But hundreds of Broward parents either didn't receive cards with bus times and stops in the mail or got the wrong information.

The Broward County Public Schools representative says a bus route overhaul caused the mess.

A statement released to NBC 6 South Florida by public information officer Tracy Clark early Wednesday read: "We are continuing to work to resolve all transportation issues. We appreciate parents’ patience and apologize greatly for any inconvenience."

Clark says she expects the bus problem to be worked out by early next week.

But the transportation union says new leadership and mismanagement are to blame.

Superintendent Robert Runcie has promised to conduct a full investigation and submit a report to the school board.

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, bus drivers, too were frustrated at the new inefficient routes they were given. Attending Tuesday’s school board meeting, the drivers said some of them didn’t receive their new routes until the morning of the first day of school.

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