A handful of parents on one Waterbury bus route said their children didn't get picked up for school at all and they had to go get their children themselves.
Parents have no problems with the pickups. But for the last two days, many said they were waiting around for more than an hour. They were wondering when their children were coming home.
Raymond Morrow was the bearer of bad news for many worried, waiting, Waterbury parents this week.
“I asked if they're waiting for bus number 1 from Chase,” Morrow, who has a student at Chase Elementary School, said. “They all said 'yes,' and I said, 'it's not coming, you need to go to the school and pick up your kids.’”
Morrow is all too familiar with the situation that's affecting students of one bus route at Chase Elementary School. He noticed the hiccups last year with the school buses run by Durham. Morrow said dismissal is at 2:50 p.m.
“The bus wouldn't get there until 3:30 p.m. or 3:40 p.m. from its previous route that it would have,” Morrow said.
Morrow said that meant his son wouldn't get home until 4:30 p.m., sometimes 5 p.m.
“With the amount of homework they're coming home with, they're not done until 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m.,” Morrow said. “By the time they finish eating dinner and take a bath, it's time for bed. You pretty much have no interaction with your child.”
Morrow said he's frustrated by the delays.
“I've reached out to the Board of Education,” Morrow said. “I've reached out to the bus company, spoken to the principal, the supervisors at the school and they've said the same thing, 'we don't control it.'”
Morrow called Eyewitness News and the station went to the board of education, where school officials were aware of the issue and are in the process of meeting with bus officials to adjust some of the schedules.
“Just like the airline industry,” Waterbury Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Robert Brenker said. “You have an airplane that's delayed on one flight. It's going to be delayed at the next, but that's all part of the process of opening up a new school year.”
On Wednesday, there were signs of improvement. At the Wakelee stop, where kids are supposed to arrive by 3:10 p.m., they were dropped off at 3:24 p.m.
“It was really scary, as a parent, to not know where your child is,” Matthew Lent, who has a student at Chase Elementary School, said.
Lent said he went through this experience last year and now bypasses the buses altogether. He now drops off and picks his son up on his own.
“It changes the way we have to handle our day, our routine,” Lent said.
Waterbury said it’s tackling this issue head on and hope things get better as everyone settles in for the school year.
If you are a Waterbury parent and have concerns, you can contact Jeffrey Hunter, the transportation coordinator for Waterbury, by emailing him at JHUNTER@WATERBURY.K12.CT.US
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