New Haven parents are complaining that the First Student bus company has failed to show up, arrived at school late or brought their children home close to dinner.
First Student blames the problems on a severe shortage of qualified drivers. However, they gave no warning to school officials of their difficulties.
The Board of Education approved a contract of $20,000 with the Transportation Advisory Services of Palm Coast, Fla., to conduct a study and recommend improvements for the next school year. The consultant will document the extent of deficiencies and determine how much the city should charge First Student for its service faults
“Certainly [the consultant] will be looking at the month of September, checking which bus runs weren’t made, how we can avoid the same problems in the future, and how we can do business better,” said Superintendent Reginald Mayo’s spokeswoman.
Earlier this month, Mayo threatened First Student with legal actions if the problem was not resolved. As a result, First Student flew in out-of-state drivers.
Mayo also stated that he intends on giving fines of $500 for each missed run and $150 for every time a bus is late, which is in the five year contract with First Student.
“The consultant is studying the overall effectiveness of our transportation system,” said Mayo’s spokeswoman.
Dattco Bus Co., which held the transportation contract until First Student won the bid in 2001, had solutions to schedule problems. Dattco would consolidate numerous stops to meet schedules, which sparked different complaints of long walks to the bus stops or stops moved to busier streets.