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Chesterfield parents, students report long lines, bus delays on 2nd day of school

Chesterfield parents, students report long lines, bus delays on 2nd day of school
Posted at 10:31 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 23:22:32-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Many Chesterfield County School parents had to wait in long lines to pick up their children or wait at the bus stop as buses arrived late on the second day of school on Tuesday.

Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty acknowledged there had been 'glitches' in the transportation department in a video message to families.

"We apologize for that," said Dr. Daugherty. "We’re working hard to fix these problems as soon as possible with Versatrans, but we are excited to have your children back in school."

Nicholas Morales said on Monday afternoon, his two children, both Swift Creek Elementary School students who rode the bus home, didn't arrive at their bus stop until close to 6:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, Morales said things had improved with the bus arriving around 5:15 p.m. just 30 minutes after its scheduled arrival time.

"Definitely from yesterday to today some improvement, and that kind of always happens," said Morales.

He said the day prior, his wife waited at the bus stop for two hours in 90-degree weather.

"It is challenging for parents because you know a lot of people work and don’t have the flexibility we have," Morales said.

Miles away, an Alberta Smith Elementary School fifth-grader and his siblings were pulling up to their bus stop more than half an hour late.

"It is a little bit aggravating being late for school and being late to get home," said the fifth-grader named John.

He said it was cutting into his free time in the afternoon. In the morning, the delayed bus left him running late for class and not having time to eat breakfast when he got there.

"If it keeps happening, I’m definitely going to start asking my mom if she can drive me to school, but I don't think that’s going to be any quicker because of all the parents trying to do that," John said.

Outside A.M. Davis Elementary School, parents were doing exactly that. Even up to an hour after the school day had ended, a long line of cars could be seen down the street.

"I grew up in Chesterfield County Schools. I have never seen it like this before," said Bridget Claxton. "Yesterday it took me an hour and a half to get her out of school, and that was me coming to drive up here, parking and walking to the school because the line was not moving," Claxton said.

She added that it wasn't sustainable for the school year and hoped a better system would be put in place.

"I'm hoping that it gets better, I just don't know how it can get better. But I guess the only thing we can do is go with the flow for now and see how it works out in the end," Claxton said.

Last week, Chesterfield schools reported they had about 100 vacant bus driver positions. The starting hourly rate is $17.21.

Anyone interested in applying can do so here.