Clean Up from Irene, Existing Construction Caused Bus Delays
Clean-up from Irene added minutes and headaches to the bus routes for the first day of school on Tuesday for 4,000+ Framingham students.
With a new bus company and all the existing construction in Framingham, there were bound to be a few issues with school buses on the first day of school Tuesday.
But blocked roads, downed trees and downed wires from Irene, brought frustration and added minutes to bus routes.
Some buses were still picking up students in the middle of their routes when the bus was scheduled to be at a school. Several buses were as much as 30 minutes late, some as much as an hour late.
"Dunning Bus 26 was late this morning and was also very late in the afternoon. My child didn't get home until 4:28 p.m. and we live 2.1 miles from the school! I was told that the bus didn't arrive at Dunning until 3:45 p.m.," Kim Dresser told Framingham Patch.
When school opened on Tuesday, all the town's schools had power said Superintendent of Schools Steven Hiersche.
"We are contenting with construction and storm damage," he said, talking about the bus routes Tuesday night.
"There were challenges. Certain things you wouldn't except to find, for example street sweepers were in our way while cleaning up the roads."
The dispatchers did a great job of re-routing the buses, based on the problem areas, said schools business director Ed Gotgart.
But several buses, especially on the McCarthy Elementary morning run were late. And since each bus does multiple runs, it just made the buses on the later runs even more off schedule.
Town Meeting member Mark W. McClennan told Framingham Patch "Bus #14 for McCarthy was at least 22 minutes late to our stop (which is when my wife left, threw our 1st grader in the car and drove him to school - getting there late)."
(Editor's Note: Bus # 8 for McCarthy, which my daughter rides, was almost 25 minutes later picking her up and arrived at school at 8:30 a.m., 15 minutes after school began. Thus it started the Brophy Elementary run 30 minutes late)
Reports from Brophy parents is that a couple of bus arrive after the school's 9 a.m. start, a couple very late.
Lisa Cohen told Framingham Patch "Barbieri bus 3 was arriving to pick up my sons after 9 this morning only half way thru the route. Drop off this afternoon was 4:15."
One parent posted on Chat about the Framingham Schools Facebook page: "Barbieri bus 3 was running 40-50 minutes late. We gave up at 9:30 and drove the kids over. Poor driver had too many detours on her middle school route and couldn't start the elementary route until 8:30. Transportation Dept was very apologetic when I called."
Walsh Middle School had busing issues too. Reports that one bus arrived an hour after school began.
Some buses could get down roads as they were closed or still had trees or poles blocking them. Frustrated parents waited at bus stops, but some buses never arrived and eventually they drove their kids to school.
A reverse 9-1-1 call went out to parents, about 5 p.m. on Tuesday informing them that if a street was blocked, buses would not be able to pick up or drop off students at those stops.
But at the School Committee meeting Tuesday night, the superintendent said the town was down to just one street still blocked, Winch St.
Not all the buses on the first day were late. Many of the mini buses were actual very close to scheduled time, according to parents.
"Barbieri bus M7 was on time this a.m. Not too shabby for a wheelchair bus. And Hemenway M2 was even a teensy bit (1 minute) early!, Lisa Richards told Framingham Patch.
School administration anticipates the bus runs and times should improve today, the day kindergarteners ride the bus for the first time.