It’s the second day of school in Lee County and there are already problems with buses.
Some kids waited hours for a ride. Frustrated parents, sick of standing around, put them in the car and drove them to school.
Each issue at a bus stop has a different cause. Sometimes it’s driver error, other times it’s weather. In one family’s case, their bus left school three hours late because of the critical shortage of bus drivers in Lee.
The District warned parents before the year started that it was unavoidable, but it’s so frustrating that some parents are already considering just driving their kids themselves.
The best part of waiting at a bus stop after school is knowing you’re about to see your kids, but that waiting isn’t fun when the bus doesn’t show.
“That bus is always late and running behind,” said Carrie Robinson, a Fort Myers parent.
“I cannot be sitting out there … it is hot, running my air conditioner, costing me gas, you know, waiting on the bus.”
Her daughter goes to Allen Park Elementary School, where the last bell rings at 3:15. The bus is supposed to drop off at 3:45.
However, Robinson said that on the first day, she waited until 5, got fed up and went to get her daughter herself.
“I got to the school, she’s still standing up in the hallway, no bus. We have parents standing out here in the pouring down rain and the thunder and lightning with their umbrellas waiting on the kids.”
Lee isn’t the only county and Florida isn’t the only state facing these issues. There’s a shortage of bus drivers across the country.
That isn’t a good enough answer for Robinson, who must now consider driving her daughter herself.
“It’ll be cheaper for me to just go out there, take her home and bring her back.”
Robinson is far from the only frustrated parent.
“In the morning, my son and daughter’s bus missed their stop completely. I ended up driving them to school,” said Nicole Belanger.
That afternoon? “They completely missed the bus stop again.”
Her kids get out of school at 2. The bus didn’t get them home until after 5.
“My daughter being 6 years old, if she had to go to the bathroom, she wouldn’t be able to hold it,” Belanger said.
Her children are no longer riding the bus.
“As soon as I seen them all the way in Pine Manor, I’m done, I’m done. I can’t do this no more, I can’t stress out anymore.”
Belanger said her kids go to Three Oaks Elementary School and the staff there was great. The bus driver also apologized.
A District spokesperson said their delay was due to weather and traffic, in part. Robinson’s, however, was due to the driver shortage.
Robinson’s daughter’s bus arrived 1.5 hours late on Wednesday.
If you’re interested in becoming a bus driver, you can find more info here.
You can also track your child’s bus through the Where’s My Bus website or app. You’ll need your child’s school ID number in order to sign up.