CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield County is only weeks away from the first day of school but they have yet to fill a number of bus driver positions and work the kinks out of a new computerized bus route system.
A bus driver who has been working in Chesterfield County for over 10 years told 8News in an exclusive interview that the new computer system has a lot of frustrating issues.
The driver, who 8News is not naming in order to protect their privacy and job, said there are so many routes in the county that they just can’t keep up with everything.
“This is the worst that I have seen it since I started driving,” the longtime bus driver said.
The new system is sending drivers down roads that are too small for school busses causing multiple trips around the same neighborhood and in some instances routing them to roads that do not exist, the bus driver said.
“The kids are upset because they’re on the bus longer, or parents are frustrated because they see us looping around their neighborhood twice because we’re trying to figure out how to get out of the situation that we were put into,” the CCPS bus driver said.
According to the driver, the problem also lies in the number of vacancies the county is still facing. 8News asked CCPS for the exact number of vacancies. The school division was not able to provide the numbers at our request.
“If you don’t have enough staff to accommodate the 60,000 plus students that Chesterfield has every year, how’re you gonna get them to school?” the longtime driver said.
The solution is not packing buses full of students, the driver warns.
A standard bus holds 78 students, including the driver so that would be three students to a seat.
“You cannot get three high school kids in a seat,” the Chesterfield County bus driver said. “If there’s an accident, how are you going to get that many students out of the bus safely because there’s nowhere to move.”
8News asked the bus driver what they thought would solve the problem. The bus driver suggests that the school system hold off on implementing the program until the kinks are worked out.
The bus driver asks parents to bear with them.
“We’re doing the best that we can. We’re as frustrated as you are, but it’s out of our hands,” the bus driver said.
Media Relations Director for CCPS Shawn Smith told 8News that all the drivers are given time to go on practice runs using their new routes. Bus drivers are encouraged to give feedback so that changes can be implemented.
Stay with 8News for updates.