Transportation complications

Bus driver shortages throughout country causes inconsistencies in District 99 routes

Patrick Brooks, A&E Editor

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Over 4 weeks, bus route 14 was late by up to 30 minutes on late start Mondays. Route 14 was not the only one. Oftentimes, buses may be late or even overcrowded. Attempting to remedy this problem, DGN sent out an email.

This email stated that due to overcrowding, changes were to be made to bus routes 5, 7, 10, and 14, however Route 14 still experiences delays on Mondays.

According to the email, Willow to 65th Street will be covered by both route five and route seven. Also, Ellinor to Walnut will be moved from route 10 to route 14. These changes are due in part to an effort to combat overcrowding on buses.

District 99 switched the bus contracts at the end of 2014 from West Way to First Student. The administration cited that the lack of drivers available to adapt to the changes in routes was a precipitating factor in why they ended the contract.

However, despite the change, First Student suffers the same issues. Mark Staehlin is the District 99 Controller in charge of reviewing these bus contracts.

“They really couldn’t find enough drivers quickly enough. Sometimes a driver might drive for three days and decide he’s not cut out for it, and just quit on the spot and a new driver has to train and fit in. It is not just First Student– it has been the whole industry,” Staehlin said.

Dr. Ken Sorensen, Associate Principal, stated another problem the bus company was struggling with is the fact that they don’t know how many kids are actually going to show up at each stop at the beginning of the year.

“The issues is that, usually in the first few weeks, we don’t know how many students are going to be at a corner. You can do a percentage based on history, but when it actually comes to pick up kids, you might have more or less than you anticipated,” Sorensen said.