Roanoke City sees major bus delays on first day of school

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City Public School officials are hoping day two runs more smoothly after 67 of the 95 or so bus routes were delayed Tuesday morning.

Traffic and bus route delays meant students didn’t get to and from school on time. As we’ve reported, school start times changed this year to help with the bus issues.

The city contracts Durham School Services to handle the school bus routes.

RCPS Chief Operations Officer Chris Perkins addressed the school board Tuesday night, saying that to start the morning they had more bus drivers than routes. But he says there was a snowball effect when drivers hit the first day of school traffic near Round Hill Elementary School, Patrick Henry High School and William Fleming High School.

That pushed the routes back 30-40 minutes, which means middle schoolers who had the last start time were more than an hour late to school.

Roanoke City Police were also late to help direct traffic. The district said it will be doing things differently on Wednesday.

“We’ve talked with the police department. They were late getting to Brandon and Grandin to help us with the traffic control there. They will do that again [Wednesday]. We’ve talked with the principal. Her traffic control measures will be in place and not depend on the police department to handle those things,” said Perkins.

Durham says about 40-50 students got on the wrong bus to school. The delay in the afternoon was because the district wanted to make sure the right students were on the right bus home, which took some time. That created another snowball effect.

The district put out robo-calls to parents. They also had a call center that was open responding to concerned parents.

“It’s not perfect and we own that that happened,” said Perkins. “It’s just the nature and it will subside.”

School officials say parents should call the transportation call center if they have questions or issues because they can track down students and buses.

The app is also useful for tracking your student’s bus in real-time.

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