Waterbury parents out of patience with school bus driver shortage, delays

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — School bus delays all over Connecticut have angered and concerned many parents in many school districts. But, for some Waterbury parents, it’s the end of the road in terms of their patience.

Delays in the morning…

“Seven o’clock, still nothing,” explained Cindy Warren, who says her son is constantly waiting too long for the school bus to show up each morning at the bus stop. “7:15…nobody’s there.”

Add to that delays in the afternoon…

“About 4:30 p.m. is the latest that a bus showed up to pick her up from school,” said Waterbury parent Mark Levesque. “And then to get home from there is about another half hour…It’s very stressful.”

Levesque’s wife, Leah, posted on Facebook that she’s thinking about getting a group of parents together and going to a private limo company to see if they can pool together resources for a private driver to get their kids to and from school on time.

“I’m actually looking for other parents to split the cost,” she said. “If we could get a 15-passenger van and split the cost 15 ways.”

“If these bus companies fall through we obviously have to do something to get our kids home,” said Mark. “We can’t keep leaving work early, race home because she’s standing in front of the school for hours.”

Durham School Services is the main school bus company in Waterbury. A massive school bus driver shortage is crippling districts in Connecticut and across the country. Parents say they understand the situation…to a point.

“What are we doing now to rectify the problem?” Warren asked.

News 8 is seeking answers for these parents. A spokesman for Durham School Services told News 8 progress is being made in terms of finding new bus drivers. He informed us the bus company has 25 new drivers in the pipeline, 10 have their permits and can soon take their road tests.

That news, a sense of relief for some of the parents.

“The fact that they’re actually addressing it and they’re hoping to hire people gives you a little hint of hope,” Leah said.

The bus company is now also implementing a $3,000 sign-on bonus for fully licensed drivers and it has a $500 employee referral bonus program. Another Waterbury school bus company, All-Star Transportation, has moved up its annual employee bonus in a move to keep its drivers behind the wheel.

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