NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – New Haven parents and students continue to describe city school bus routes as a nightmare as thousands have had to adjust to a disastrous plan roll out.
When the new routes were issued, more than 1,500 parents complained. They said they were promised changes after that.
"They’re late for school [and] they’re not getting on the same routine that they should be on everyday," said Sada Marshall, a New Haven parent.
Even though it’s been two weeks, parents said they haven’t seen those changes.
On Wednesday night, however, First Student said the majority of route changes should be in effect by next week.
“I’ve lost clients, I’ve lost income because they’re not even showing up to pick up my daughter,” said Sada Marshall, a New Haven parent.
Sada Marshall’s life and cleaning business is in upheaval. She blamed New Haven’s new school bus routes.
“This is not good for people, especially single parents who are working and they have no help and they’re not getting to their jobs on time. Their children aren’t getting to school on time,” Marshall said.
At the beginning of the school year, the district rolled out the new routes. The goal was to save money and increase efficiency.
In some cases, it included students walking more than a mile to their bus stop through high trafficked areas.
So far, the district said it dealt with hundreds of complaints from parents demanding the routes get changed.
Many complaints were voiced at a forum on Wednesday at Fair Haven School and a Board of Education meeting.
The 1,500 plus complaints resulted in 1,500-plus tweaks to the routes, bus officials said.
Channel 3 spoke with First Student officials off camera and they said the changes were being rolled out as quickly as possible, but because there were so many right off the bat, there’s still a backlog in implementing them.
First Student expected the majority of the new routes to take effect next Wednesday, but the district is not on the same page. It is telling parents the changes won’t take effect until Oct. 15.
Either way, officials said before any route changes take effect, parents will be notified through mail, email, or a phone call.
“That’s not acceptable. What about parents who don’t have cars? What about when it gets cold and these kids have to walk two miles to a bus stop,” Marshall said.
Neither timetable is pleasing to parents, but they said the fact that there is a timetable is a step in the right direction. All they can do now is hope these deadlines can be met, they said.
“Anything can happen to these children and I want to know that I can trust the transportation company that my children are on every day,” Marshall said.
Another thing parents said they worry about is while First Student said the majority of changes should be made by Wednesday, they are anticipating minor problems. Some of the problems expected are overloaded buses or late buses because of added stops.
Those issues could make it be weeks before a firm schedule is in place.