Smoother morning bus rides for Boston students - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Smoother morning bus rides for Boston students

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Students waiting to be picked up by Boston Public Schools buses experienced a smoother ride on Wednesday, after labor disputes have left the workforce 15 drivers short and delayed the buses.

For some students, Wednesday was the first day their buses have come to pick them up.

One driver said it's not a case of drivers refusing to work, but that many drivers do not know their bus routes until they show up for the day. Bus drivers who do not have their routes figured out continue to show up at the bus yards and are still picking the routes out as the week goes on.

Students suffered delays getting to school on Tuesday as several bus drivers did not show up for work. Missing seven bus drivers on Tuesday, managers got behind the wheel and got all of the children to school, but by the time they had it figured out the routes were more than an hour behind.

Some parents waited with their students for nearly half an hour before finding alternate routes to school. Eventually, all buses got on the road, with the help of managers and supervisors who got behind the wheel.

Parents and students are urged to have a backup plan for getting to school for the rest of the week as the school and bus drivers work out a deal. Nearly 400 students were stranded on Monday morning when drivers did not show up to work.

It's still a week before most students go back to class but charter schools and special education classes started as early as a week ago.

On Monday, routes changed and many buses picking up the 3,000 students already in class failed to show up or were late.

“If you tell me you're going to pick up my kid at 6:50 I'm expecting that within about 10 minutes before or after you're going to pick up my child up,” Devita McConnell said.

The Boston Public Schools Interim-Superintendent said the drivers union was supposed to adjust for the change but ultimately fell short on drivers and about 400 students were left at home.

Parents say they don't know who to blame but they know problems like this make it difficult for their students to get to school.

“The school is so strict about making sure the kids are on time, but if you want us to be there on time make sure the bus is on time,” Torcia Mercury said.

Mayor Marty Walsh says he is worried about what will happen next week when all the students go back to school.

“Today was disappointing and certainly I was concerned this afternoon. This is going to be a day at a time for a little bit but I'm not going to do this they whole year,” he said.

Monday evening Interim-Superintendent John McDonough released a statement warning parents of a possible repeat on Tuesday morning.

McDonough said 175 buses will be needed, 50 more than Monday, but only 110 drivers had agreed to work as of 6 p.m.

"Families should prepare alternate arrangements to bring students to and from school Tuesday if necessary," he said. "This ongoing uncertainty is unacceptable to us and is unacceptable to our students and families, who count on having a reliable ride to school."
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