BREAKING NEWS: TCAPS Makes Cuts to Daily Transportation to School Starting Jan. 23

Due to staffing shortages, TCAPS had to cut down on the number of days busses will be taking students to and from school

Anna Sperry, Editor-in-Chief

  Starting Jan. 23, TCAPS will no longer be able to provide transportation from high schools in the district every day. There will still be bussing services provided before school every day. Families who depend on the bus were made aware of this issue in an email from the superintendent, John VanWagoner. The cause for this change in bussing services is due to the severe shortage of staff.   

  “We are hopeful that staffing will improve and we can reevaluate transportation services over the next few months,” VanWagoner said. 

  As of Jan. 10, WSH students must find their own ride after school on Jan. 23, Jan. 24, Jan. 30, Jan. 31, Feb. 3, Feb. 6 and Feb. 7. The TCAPS Board of Education is hopeful that there will be an increase in bus drivers so that the regular bussing schedule can continue following Feb. 10.

  Even though students will only be able to ride the bus after school a few days a week (every Monday, Tuesday and one Friday), WSH will continue to open an hour before school begins, 7 a.m., and will remain open until 30 minutes after classes end. 

  “We’ll always work with families on a case-by-case basis if they aren’t able to make a plan to get to and from school in those time frames,” Principal Joe Esper said. 

  The effects of the lack of drivers is solely impacting high school students. Middle school and elementary school students will still have a daily bussing service. Unfortunately, high schoolers who rely on the bus will have to find alternative transportation. Some options include riding with the Bay Area Transit Authority (BATA) free of charge, carpooling or driving to school. Families can fill out the google form sent out via email from VanWagoner to opt out of school-run transportation through the end of the school year. Those interested in becoming a bus driver or know someone who would be, are encouraged to visit the TCAPS employment page for available opportunities.  

  “Future adjustments may be needed if our current driver shortage does not improve as we continue through the school year,” VanWagoner said. 

  Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been staff shortages across the country in all jobs.

  “It’s unfortunate but we see the same labor shortage issues in all sectors in all parts of Michigan,” Esper said.

  In order to see change, the District proposed the option of having fewer students ride the bus, if possible. If a reduction in riders occurs, more students will be able to take the bus to school because of changes in routing.

  “If the district sees a decline in ridership, it will afford us the opportunity to gain routing efficiencies with a goal to reduce the number of drivers required on a daily basis,” VanWagoner said. 

  However surprising the change may be, this isn’t the first time transportation issues have arisen within TCAPS. Luckily, there don’t seem to be any significant problems with students and families who depend on taking the bus daily.

  “We’ve had a few similar situations over the past two years due to high levels of illness with transportation staff and students and families worked hard to adjust,” Esper said. “We’re hopeful we’ll be able to find an alternate way for everyone to continue getting to school on the days there isn’t bussing.”