PG Schools continue to work to address transportation challenges

By: Meredith Baker | Email: Click Here
Posted: Oct. 2, 2017 | 12:00 p.m. 

PRINCE GEORGE – Transportation continues to be a challenge for Prince George County Public Schools.

Transportation Coordinator Clarence Thweatt presented an update at the September 11 school board meeting on some of the challenges that the division faced during the first week of school and the outlook going forward.

“I felt like things went well,” Thweatt said. “We have some bumps in the road, some glitches, but there’s nothing we can’t work through.”

Thweatt said that the division was able to hire some new drivers over the summer, but they recently had two bus drivers and two car drivers to resign. They are currently six drivers short of what they would like to have, though they have some drivers in training. Thweatt said that they have had to eliminate some routes, so the buses are loaded, with some elementary students riding three to a seat, but he said that safety is still his priority.

“It is safe to ride three to a seat,” Thweatt said.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Patrick Bingham said that a variety of factors contributed to some delays during the first week of school, including students not knowing their bus number or being slow to get on the bus, parents not being there to meet their children at the bus stop, and bus drivers not making it into work.

Since buses are running elementary routes after they run secondary routes, delays at a secondary school can cause elementary students to get home later, too.

Bingham also said that he has reached out to several companies to see if they could offer supplemental drivers to the division, but most of those companies seem to be either only interested in taking over the entire transportation department or else do not offer the services that the division needs.

The school board does still plan to hear presentations from some of those companies on the services they would be able to offer the division.

Copyright 2017 by Womack Publishing
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