CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Bus issues in the Charleston County School District aren’t anything new for CCSD parents.
All school year parents have complained to not only CCSD but Live 5 News.
According to documents from CCSD, there have been nearly 3,000 bus related complaints formally submitted to the Charleston County School District during the 2018-19 school year.
CCSD pays Durham School Services nearly $900,000 a year to run the majority of its buses.
“It’s just extremely frustrating,” CCSD parent Christina McCarthy said. “Consecutively late, not showing up at all.”
Over the span of two weeks in February, parents formally complained more than a hundred times to the CCSD transportation department.
“Extremely long wait times at school (up to 1h 45min last week) for my daughter at school. This is no way of running a business,” a Thomas C. Cario parent wrote to the district. “This has been going on the majority of this year and is not acceptable.”
In the bus complaint log provided by CCSD, parents complained to the district that their kids waited nearly two hours for a bus to show up. Other complaints show a bus never came at all.
“What you have is the actual complaint and not everything that’s listed in the complaint log when it’s investigated turns out to be the truth,” CCSD Transportation Director Jeff Scott said. “But no, we don’t find it acceptable that’s why we’re withholding the ten percent is because they don’t have 100 percent running every day.”
“This is the third week without a bus with no explanation of what has happened to the driver,” one bus complaint from a Thomas C. Cario parent said. “Why is the bus just “not coming?”
McCarthy said her daughter has had to miss school because a bus never showed up.
“She’s missed two days of school the whole day this year due to buses not being here on time,” McCarthy said. “I’ve tried to get them to tell me what time the bus is going to be there to pick her up so she can go home or go back out to wait for the bus and they can’t tell you what time. They just want them to wait outside.”
Scott said the problem is a nationwide bus driver shortage.
“Where we’re at now, the buses are having to come back because they don’t have a bus to run,” Scott said. “It’s not because of an overcrowding issue, it’s because that particular route may not have a bus driver which is a little bit different than overcrowding.”
Scott said once a driver finishes a route, they then circle around to start another.
Durham Bus Services says they acknowledge they need to bring on more drivers. They’ve been hosting job fairs and are offering to pay drivers more.