Absent Driver Causes 30 Minute Delay Of Hickman Elementary Bus
by Shannon Royster
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An absent bus driver caused a significant delay of a Hickman Elementary School bus, resulting in children waiting in below-freezing temperatures.
Carie Spicer said she and her nine year old son Warren have a morning routine.
"I have him wait downstairs until we see the bus go by especially on the cold mornings," she said. "So when we saw a bus go by I signaled him to go ahead and go to the bus stop."
But Thursday morning after 20 minutes went by she became worried. With a wind chill of six degrees, she knew something was wrong. Warren's bus to Hickman Elementary School was late, so she called her son inside. After thirty minutes Carie said his bus finally arrived.
With below freezing temperatures you would think the problem was weather related, but Metro Nashville Public Schools spokesman Joe Bass said it wasn't.
"It was a staffing issue," he said. "It was a driver who wasn't at work today."
As a result, another driver had to double up and take on an additional route pushing back pick up times. Bass said this is no longer the norm.
"Just in the last two months, morning late buses are down 69 percent," said Bass.
Carie admitted the bus has never been 30 minutes late, but she would like to receive a text or call from the school in the event busses are late. Bass said a parent's best resource is Metro's customer service center.
"Its unfortunate that it happened this morning with that driver absence but it's something we see less of and we're going to keep working to eliminate," said Bass.
So far, Metro has revamped its transportation department, its hiring practices and training program to try to lower these instances. As far as the driver absent from work today, Bass said the issue is being addressed by transportation management.
If your child's school bus is late or if you have any transportation questions, just call the customer service center at 259-info. To give you an idea of just how many people the center has helped this school year, from August to October, it fielded more than 50,000 calls.