Richmond Co. buses take off this week as students go back to school

By: Trishna Begam Email
By: Trishna Begam Email

Parents who have issues with their kids coming or going on the bus will have to call the transportation department to sort the problem out. You can contact them at (706) 796-4777.

News 12 This Morning / Monday, Aug. 13, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Twenty-two thousand Richmond County students headed to the bus stop Monday morning as the first week of school began.

With more than 150 routes, 200 buses and thousands of students, the task is big for the Richmond County Bard of Education's Transportation Department to keep everyone on the right bus and on time.

Jimmie Wiley, director of transportation for the Richmond County Board of Education, said, "We changed the pick-up times on all of the routes. This year, we are targeting breakfast times as opposed to the bell time."

Unfortunately, this means students will have to wake up 20 to 30 minutes earlier to get to their bus stops.

One major concern for some parents is students returning home.

Last school year, major delays at some Richmond County schools had some parents very upset during the first week of school.

"We started off last year with three or four drivers short. This year, we have a driver assigned to every bus on the road at present," Wiley said.

With the county transporting 22,000 students to and from school, the school transportation department is still in the process of training and recruiting more school bus drivers.

"We are doing everything humanely possible not to have delayed buses; it goes back to personnel," Wiley said.

Parents who have issues will have to call the transportation department to sort the problem out. You can call them at (706) 796-4777.

On the other end of the line is usually someone like Vanessa Ameen, a dispatcher who's worked for the school board for the past 17 years.

"I communicate with the bus drivers and I answer calls when parents call," Ameen said.

Last year, the phones were ringing off the hook the very first day.

"We had 5,500 calls the very first day," Wiley said.

The first week can always make for a bumpy ride.

"You may have a situation where a bus may be overcrowded," Wiley said. "Students move all over the county during the summer."

Wiley says he hopes the timing and buses run smoother this school year. Magnet school students will have the same protocol as last year. Students in magnet schools will take the bus to a zoned school and then a shuttle to their magnet school.

The transportation department says they will continue to recruit new bus drivers to add more drivers into the rotation.

If you are interested in applying for a position, click here.

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