Howard County School officials have been working over the holiday weekend to fix last week’s transportation issues.
The first week of school chaos put families in the position of finding their own way to campus, with routes temporarily suspended for many students.
Officials and the California-based transportation company Zum said it is working to ensure busing goes smoother this week than last.
Eleven out of the 20 bus routes suspended last week have been restored, Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano said in a statement.
It is still expected that students will experience bus delays thanks to new compressed schedules and routing challenges, particularly for schools with start times of 8:40 a.m. and 9:15 a.m., Dr. Martirano said.
The first week of school in Howard County left 2,400 students without a bus to ride. A contractor with the district, Zum, blames driver callouts and shortages for delays and why some routes are still without staffing.
The company says it hired, trained, and certified 30 new drivers over the weekend, offering thousands in bonuses and incentives.Despite the ongoing hiring process, a dozen routes are still not filled, leaving parents to figure out how to get their kids to and from school.
Over the weekend and even on Labor Day, drivers were given the opportunity to test-run routes hoping to ensure a smoother transition this week.
“...I know I have said it multiple times now, but it cannot be said enough how sorry I am that too many students, families and staff have endured a difficult first week of school related to transportation challenges,” Dr. Martirano said in a statement Sunday. “You have my total commitment to ensure this is fixed so the vast majority of the school year will operate the way our students and families deserve.”