Boston families anxious about new bus routes ahead of first day of school

BOSTON — Some families in Boston say they still don’t know for sure whether their children will have a bus to get to school on Thursday morning.

The district has been warning families for the last week about the possibility of significant delays involving school buses due to a driver shortage.

A statement released by the Boston bus driver’s union last week asked the district to consider delaying the start of in person learning due to the situation.

“Routing for the 2021-2022 school year is by far the worst fiasco we’ve witnessed in our careers,” the statement read.

School officials believe a last minute temporary deal with the union will alleviate some of the predicted problems.

The deal, reached less than 48 hours before the first day of school, brought on some new drivers and standby drivers.

It offers an incentive of $50 per day on top of normal pay to get drivers to start 15 minutes early on the first five days of school.

There’s still a shortage of dozens of drivers and as many as 100 bus monitors for the upcoming school year.

“It’s definitely going to be a mess. It’s very concerning,” said Makeda Payton, whose 5-year-old daughter attends Josiah Quincy School.

PREVIOUS: Boston school bus drivers call for postponement of first day

Payton said she doesn’t trust a school bus to get her daughter to school.

She told Boston 25 News she worries about the possibility of her child waiting at the bus stop for extended periods of time.

She described the area where her daughter’s bus stop is located, near Mass Ave and Washington Street, as “unsafe”.

“That time of the morning, there’s strange activities going on. I just don’t feel safe. I’d rather bring her to school myself,” explained Payton. “It’s not a good situation all around for anyone.”

Payton plans on traveling with her daughter to get to school every day on the silver bus line.

She said she’s worried about all the kids who may be left to fend for themselves.

The Boston Public School District buses about 25,000 students a day which typically relies on about 700 drivers.

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