Students in Monroe County schools experienced major transportation delays for the first day of school after corporate bus fleet Auxilio Services provided drivers for only 18 of its 42 routes.
MCCSC used 20 of its substitute drivers to fill some of the remaining routes. Many routes were doubled up. Pick-up and drop-off times were delayed, with some reports of students arriving 90 minutes later than expected.
Bloomington North parent Ranu Samantrai says her son’s bus never came to pick him up from school. Instead he took a different bus headed toward a neighborhood next to his.
“We’re paying for a service and that service should be well-performed,” Samantrai says. “And I shouldn’t have to pick up after the people who are supposedly performing the service.”
Yesterday MCCSC said Wednesday had “minimal” busing problems, while some parents pointed out no-shows and delays on Twitter. The district was confident there would be no busing issues, despite Muncie schools cancelling classes due to busing issues from the same bus fleet.
MCCSC spokesman Andrew Clampitt says Auxilio told the district last week it had 32 drivers ready for the first day.
“I can’t speak necessarily on why or necessarily the process that they use to hire their employees,” Clampitt says. “That’s kind of why we contract them. They take care of that part.”
Clampitt says transportation went much smoother this morning, although MCCSC is still relying on subs and doubling up routes.
Clampitt says MCCSC and Auxilio are both working to hire more bus drivers to fill the remaining routes. He says hiring drivers is a process that will continue throughout the rest of the school year.
The decision to give routes to an out-of-state company was controversial. Clampitt told us in March that Auxilio would hire local drivers for many routes.
Clampitt says back-to-school delays are typical in the first week and says MCCSC thanks families for their patience during this process.
Auxilio’s local office was not immediately available for comment.
This post has been updated.