CCSD expects improvement in bus reliability this school year

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Because of a bus driver shortage, many Clark County School District families reported experiencing hours-long bus delays– or even no-show buses– at this time last year. But now, the district’s transportation department seems more optimistic.

“We’ve done a lot of onboarding and training, so we’ve got quite a few drivers that’ve come through the pipeline,” said Amber Rideout, CCSD Director of Operations for Transportation. “We definitely won’t see the same late routes– amount of late routes that we saw last year.”

Rideout said last year’s issues stemmed from a bus driver shortage. By contrast, this August, they’re reporting having just one-third of those vacancies.

“Our driver vacancy last school year was in excess of 255 drivers. We are now with a driver shortage of 82 drivers,” said Rideout.

Aside from the district’s numerous outreach efforts over the last year– along with the community’s willingness to help– the district also attributed their recent improvements to the pay raise they announced for bus drivers’ starting wages, from $15.36 per hour to $22.74.

Rideout said the bus driver shortage should only continue to improve.

“We currently still have drivers that are in the pipeline that are scheduled to come out of the training class later this month, so we are very excited and anticipate to have additional drivers on the road,” said Rideout.

Still, she recommends that students arrive to their bus stop 10 minutes early, especially in the first couple weeks of this new school year.

“What I would ask, is during the first two weeks of school, is that families be patients with drivers and students,” said Rideout. “It’s a new school year, and so drivers are getting acclimated to their routes, and um, inclement weather sometimes is a factor during the first couple of days, so just during the first two weeks you may see a little bit of inconsistency.”

Also, be aware that your school’s start time may have changed.

CCSD announced early this year they would be shifting the start times at hundreds of schools in an effort to prevent bus driver delays.

For one Coronado High School sophomore Delenn Flory, the change means her first period has been moved up by an hour to 7 am, which she said means she will have to get up “4:30 to 5:00,” she said, “ in order for [her] to be able to make it to the bus.”

“Since I have to walk to my bus stop,” said Flory.

This is why it is important that students get to bed early as the new academic year begins.

“In the morning we’ll be more tired, and already with the start time we had last year, a lot of people in the first and second period, they tended to be more sluggish,” said Flory.

FOX5 will continue to follow the impacts on local families of these shifts in school start times.

Here is a list of CCSD schools with the changes in their start times this year.

Separately, to track your child’s bus status, CCSD encourages you to download this Onboard app to your smartphone.