Columbus City Schools has struggled mightily this year to deal with an ongoing bus driver shortage. Students at Columbus-area public and charter schools have been left hanging without transportation for the entire school year. Now, the Columbus school district is finally addressing these issues with its buses. The district announced this month that its bus routes would change after the students’ winter breaks.
Starting on January 3rd, the district will implement massive changes to its bus routes. There are three main areas that the changes will focus on. The first area is the routes themselves, which will undergo a massive overhaul. The district also wants to update the technology it uses to both manage bus routes and notify families of changes in their service. With new technology in place, transportation workers in the district will be more able to give live updates to families. The third area is seeking ways to keep improving service, including using outside agencies to shore up difficult routes.
For students, this means that they’ll have to navigate a new bus driver and different timing for their morning pickups. Some may even get a new bus stop location. This means big changes in routines for a lot of people. However, with the shortage of drivers still hobbling the district, these changes are necessary to ensure every kid can get to school safely.
Columbus Still Doesn’t Have Enough People to Drive Its School Buses
The shortage began when schools started reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic. Columbus, like most cities across the country, struggled to find enough drivers to take kids to school. Combined with Columbus’s current open enrollment policy, which allows parents to choose schools that are further away from their home, the city has struggled to keep up this year.
While the city is still short on drivers, the district recognizes that that isn’t likely to change soon. It has explored options like allowing new CDL graduates to drive its buses and paying parents to drive their own kids to school. However, it hopes that these new routes will help shore up this ongoing issue.