Parents fed up with late, canceled school buses

Posted at 8:16 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 07:22:17-05

Upset parents have contacted ABC Action News after they say they’ve had to wait more than 25 minutes with their children at the bus stop.

For Pam Wachowicz, dropping her daughter off at the bus stop in Carrollwood is a morning routine. But lately that routine is delayed.  

“This has been going on now for a week and a half. It's been seven days that we’ve had to worry, where is the bus?” said Wachowicz.

The bus is either late or doesn’t show. It’s standard procedure for the school district to call when the bus is 15 minutes or more late, but some parents say they aren’t getting a call.

"Today was the third phone call we got for a late bus," one parent said. "All last week we only got one phone call."

“It’s ridiculous, the most basic function of the school district is to provide safe and reliable transportation for our children to school,” said Tony Sloan.  

Now parents are carpooling to get their kids to school on time. Several parents were told the bus drivers were sick with the flu. When we asked the district about it, the spokesperson said she’s not aware of sick drivers but says there is a driver shortage.

The school district says this is one of few complaints they’ve received this year regarding late buses.

We’re told more than 100 calls went out to parents Monday.

“If you have bus drivers that call out sick or if they have extended leave and then we don’t have enough drivers on that day, that’s where you can run into issues.” said Tanya Arja with Hillsborough County Schools.

Right now there is a need for at least 50 bus drivers. Parents say whatever the case is, reliable drivers should be a priority.

“My nerves kick in. I would just rather drive her and deal with the consequences then sit out here wondering if the bus is going to come, and then who is picking up my child,” said Wachowicz.

The district says it's hosted several job fairs advertising its hiring bus drivers and will host another next month.

It also says its going to investigate routes where parents aren’t getting calls. We’re told it’s likely because a wrong number is listed or a number may not be listed at all.

If a parent knows a correct number is listed with the school district and they are still not getting notifications about late buses call the school transportation department at 813-982-5500.