new haven

Amid School Bus Frustrations, New Haven Sees Small Signs of Improvement

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In New Haven the school district says there are signs of improvement when it comes bus problems amid a driver shortage.

“The bus stops are miles away and he’s only in the first grade. And then the buses aren’t showing up. They’re taking hours to come,” said Shaina Moye of New Haven.

Parents are upset and so are some school board members.

“They are running from their classes to get to the bus. We’re messing with their education,” said Dr. Tamiko Jackson-McArthur, a Board of Education member.

On Tuesday the district updated people on the challenge.

“We are all scrambling and competing for drivers all over the state,” said Carl Jackson, New Haven Public Schools director of transportation.

Right now the district says amid a driver shortage they’ve reduced the number of routes to 301.

Even covering that has required the bus operator First Student to use managers, dispatchers and pull drivers from other parts of the state.

But there is hope with a small increase in drivers and with dozens of potentially more in the pipeline either having applied, in the classroom or training on the street.

“We are getting incrementally better every week but we still have a ways to go,” said Jackson.

Some parents praised the district’s response.

One dad told us he was able to get his son’s bus assignment changed fairly quickly after he raised concerns about far away the bus stop was.

“He’s in good condition right now with the buses right now,” said Thomas Oliver of New Haven.

The district says about 65% of the First Student staff is vaccinated, with most of the rest choosing the weekly testing.

NBC Connecticut reached out to First Student for comment but have not yet heard back.

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