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Bus driver shortage continues as Killeen family waits an hour at bus stop

Killeen ISD officials say routes were covered for the 27 drivers out Tuesday
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 7:41 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - A military mom who asked to remain anonymous says her kids waited for an hour at the bus stop Tuesday morning, along with 10 other kids waiting to get to school on Fort Hood.

She says her kids typically catch two different buses, one to elementary school and one to middle school on post, but both were left waiting Tuesday.

“My son went out to the bus stop, I was wrangling the other kids for breakfast, he called me about 15 minutes later and said ‘the bus isn’t here yet, what should I do?’” The mom explained.

She says calls to the transportation department went unanswered, and the school itself was working to track down the bus when she called.

“[They said] ‘We’re getting a lot of calls about buses, your driver is out sick but you should have someone else covering your route,’” she said.

The mom says other moms in the neighborhood were getting frustrated, trying to navigate what to do with their other kids while some were trying to get to work.

After an hour a bus came and the mom says she talked to the driver to make sure the kids would be taken to the right school.

“The driver was running two routes and hadn’t started our route yet. My 4th grader was picked up at the time school was starting,” she said.

District spokesperson Taina Maya says 27 drivers called out Tuesday, for illness personal and bereavement leave, though she says all shifts were filled.

“We just like many others are experiencing people being out due to COVID-19, its impacting us from teachers to buses, lunches and even after school tutoring,” Maya explained.

“Our transportation director, some of our mechanics also some of our transportation staff members who are CDL holders were on the roads this morning and again in the afternoon,” Maya said.

She says many factors outside of the districts control caused delays Tuesday morning including road closures for repaving in parts of Killeen and an accident on post that caused traffic delays.

“There are three tiers of transportation routes so if there is a delay at tier one there will likely be a delay at tier two and tier three,” Maya said.

She says the district runs 205 routes, 137 regular and 68 special education routes. The district has 203 filled driver positions, with 176 working Tuesday.

Maya says the district has the ability to hire up to 97 more CDL drivers, and have hired four in the last month.

She recommends parents download the districts app to track their students school bus, to know where it is and how long until it reaches their child’s stop.

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