Colonial School District working to improve issues with buses

Buses are running late in the Colonial School District and parents aren’t happy. One district father, Billy Howlett, took to Facebook this week and shared his family’s experience.

This is getting to be beyond unacceptable! This bus company has yet to be less than 30 minutes late in the morning, and now “significant” delays in the afternoon when my kid is already getting home an hour and half after school ends!!

If this his company cannot properly provide services to the district, then they need to go! These are little kids, K-3, not high schoolers or older kids.

While not directly addressing Howlett, the district recently offered what it is doing to address the situation (see below). The district points to a shortage of drivers and the road construction projects in the area.

With major construction projects underway such as the Ridge Pike Improvement Project, which is expected to continue the next few years, the impact of construction doesn’t appear likely to improve anytime soon.

From the district:

To address transportation challenges caused by the ongoing bus driver shortage and area construction projects, Colonial School District is working hard to recruit more drivers; make bus routes more efficient through an opt-out form; and communicate and handle bus delays when they do occur.

Despite the pandemic’s wane, the bus driver shortage still exists for a variety of different and complex reasons. While some efforts are being made at the state level to address the problem, it is largely up to school districts to find solutions at this time. Colonial School District continues to have frequent conversations with various transportation providers in an effort to recruit drivers. These discussions took place all summer and continue now among six different providers. In addition, the District is advertising to hire drivers.

Transportation personnel also continue to examine ways to make routes more efficient. You may join us in that effort by telling us if you are willing to opt out of bus transportation through the 2023-24 school year. By knowing how many families intend to drive students on a regular basis, routes could be consolidated. You can choose to opt out of morning or afternoon transportation (or both) by filling out this form:

Click here to opt out

The form is optional and you do not need to complete it if you have no intent to change your current transportation mode.

In the meantime, families should be aware that the District’s ability to provide timely service may be affected when existing drivers are unable to report to work. There may be occasions where double runs are needed. In addition, a number of construction projects (such as the work on Ridge Pike in Whitemarsh Township) may result in busing delays this year.

The Transportation Department will make every attempt to notify families in advance when there are schedule disruptions. Parents of students in grades K-5 may drop off children at school as early as 7:50 a.m. if they receive a message that their bus will be running late. If you cannot drop off, students will be excused if they arrive late to school due to busing delays.

Lastly, bus driver applicants are needed urgently. Use the links below to apply:

Click here to apply to be a Colonial bus driver

Click here to apply to be a First Student bus driver