Albemarle County considering public rides to school
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- After nearly a year of searching for solutions to the ongoing bus driver shortage, Albemarle County Public Schools is now considering a partnership with public transportation.
"We will look at how best to serve our students, and that requires us thinking outside of the box," said Charmane White, the Director of Transportation for ACPS.
White says students could be riding on JAUNT or Charlottesville Area Transit buses to and from school each day.
"This isn't something that has never been done before. Usually, you see this in your larger cities," she said.
It's a possible fix that White says could be extremely beneficial.
"It answers the need to not only getting our children to school safely, but on time. That has been, I know a thorn, in parents' sides this year," she said.
She says five bus drivers could drive bus routes that are typically late to picking up or dropping off students.
White also says students who take city buses could be riding with public transportation passengers.
She adds that student safety is the division's main priority.
Amy Macfarlan, an Albemarle County parent, says if the school division moves forward with this plan, she’s concerned her kids could be riding with strangers.
"Security is the first and foremost concern right there. I would like them not to sit next to an adult stranger we don't know,” she said.
Macfarlan, a mother of a rising first grader and kindergartener, says she appreciates the school division’s efforts in finding a solution, but she would drive her kids to school if it came to that point.
"That's really hard with our schedule, but not impossible, but if that's what it came to, I would probably not put them on the bus and drive them myself," Macfarlan said.
White says no decision has been finalized and ACPS parents could receive an announcement within the next few weeks.
She says the division is also considering creating an advisory committee that would include parents so they could voice their thoughts or concerns on how to ease the bus driver shortage.
White says parents can contact the ACPS Transportation Department with feedback by calling (434) 973-5716.
The first day of class for Albemarle County schools is Aug. 24.