CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) — School starts on August 15 in Charleston County. During the past year, News 2 heard many concerns from viewers about bus delays, saying kids were stuck on the side of the road waiting for buses that were an hour or more late, or didn’t show up at all. CCSD’s Interim Executive Director of Transportation, Jeff Scott, says they’ve learned from past mistakes.
He says, “We had some driver shortages in the spring of last year. We had a 362 routes, and we only had around 320-something local drivers at that point in time, so it really caused of some problems with delays, and pick ups, and getting kids to school on time.”
Scott says the district heard parent complaints loud and clear.
He says, “A large number of calls from parents, rightfully so. They were dissatisfied with the services we are providing last year.”
So this school year, there is a driver for every route, and back-up drivers to fill in on vacations and sick days.
Scott says, “Durham has done a tremendous job over the summer, the past 2 1/2 months, with recruiting, training, and getting drivers ready for this year. We will actually add 20 more routes to this year’s bus contingent. We will have a driver for every one of those routes and an actual bench to deal with any contingencies or emergencies on day one.”
He says they have better retention of drivers and it’s easier to recruit new drivers with added bonuses and pay increases. As for parents, a new push alert system is in place so they are in the loop about any bus delays.
Scott says, “You can sign up for your particular route and anything that’s going to affect your bus for more than 15 minutes, the Durham supervisors will actually send out a notification to let you know what the problem is, how long you can expect to wait, and/or the solution that they are going to give to you, whether it be another bus or that bus is fixed and on the way.”
Instructions for signing up for the push alerts will be available on CCSD’s website sometime this week and they will start using the notifications on Wednesday, August 17.