Thursday, August 21, 2008

Smooth start for school buses? That's a laugh riot

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials are saying they're in better shape for the start of school this year than last year because they've got no school bus driver vacancies. We're pleased to hear that.

But if you think the first week of school bus rides will go smoothly, we have some underwater land we'd like to sell you.

With 111,000 students riding 135,000 miles daily, and 37,000 sub stops, there will be problems. Many problems. It's impossible not to have them. Buses will break down. Drivers will get sick. Those "practice runs" many drivers take don't iron out all the wrinkles.

Experienced CMS parents know the first week of school bus riding is fraught with problems. Is the bus late, or does it not have your child's stop on its list? Should you give up and drive to school, or wait another 10 minutes? And if you call the school transportation office, will anyone answer?

In previous years, parents couldn't get answers because all the bus office lines were busy and stayed that way for hours.

If CMS can solve its inability to get timely answers to frantic first-week-of-school parents, then the other, predictable busing snafus will be a lot easier for parents to weather.
Posted by Mary Newsom.


whitsmom said...

For years The Observer's editorial board staunchly defended busing and denigrated those who sought to send their kids to schools close to home, even as the school system grew ever larger and more unwieldy. Now you finally admit that a busing system this big is going to have problems--"lots of problems". Many of us have been pointing this out for years, only to be told that we were selfish or afraid of diversity. Perhaps we would have fewer transportation problems today if years ago The Observer had been willing to honestly examine the future ramifications of a busing based assignment plan for such a rapidly growing school system.