'I refuse to get used to it': Roanoke parent says app doesn't resolve school bus issues

Durham School Services rolling out bus tracking app

ROANOKE, Va. – The Star City school bus saga continues.

The company running the buses, Durham School Services, said a new tracking app will fully roll out Thursday, touting it as improved communication after months of issues.

It was a soggy start Wednesday for students in Roanoke City Schools after yet another late bus.

"So they're going to be late to school today," parent Sarah Jones said. "It really just burns my biscuits."

Delays have been plaguing the school system since day one this year, and parents like Jones are fed up.

"I refuse to get used to it. I want them to make it right, and I'm not going to stop until they get it right," Jones said.

One way that Durham School Services is trying to do that is with a new tracking app that promises near real-time information at each stop. Parents can only track their child's assigned bus. That proved to be a problem Wednesday, as Jones' child wasn't riding his assigned bus because the driver was running a double route, so they couldn't track it.

"All they say is they're working on it, they're working on it, and that is just not enough anymore," Jones said.

For Jones, the app is merely a distraction from the real issues, dating back to Durham's takeover this summer.

"They decided to put money ahead of our kids, and you know, sometimes you just can't buy off-brand cheese. You buy off-brand cheese, it's going to taste like garbage. You get what you pay for," Jones said.

Students left in the rain and parents left in the dark are still asking for answers and said an app isn't it.

"We just need to know that our kids are getting from point A to point B safely, and right now, I don't have faith that Durham is getting my kids from point A to point B safely," Jones said.

Durham School Services released the following statement to 10 News Wednesday:

"The Bus Tracker app will be LIVE by this Thursday in Roanoke and fully functional for parents and guardians who have filled out the forms on the RCPS website: https://www.rcps.info/news/what_s_new/durham_bus_tracker_app_available.  We are excited to launch this application as we believe this tool will greatly assist parents and guardians in knowing where their student is on a route.

We currently have 17 drivers in training and we expect them to be driving for us within the next few weeks.  Additionally, we have received a steady flow of new applications since announcing the $2,500 sign on bonus program for potential drivers."


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