Got questions about your child's bus route? DCPS set up a hotline
Transportation Call Center answering parent's questions through Aug. 23
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As more than 129,000 Duval County students get ready to head back to class Monday, the school district is finalizing its bus routes and plans for the upcoming school year.
Since 47,000 of those students rely on the bus as their ride to and from school, Duval County Public Schools has set up a Transportation Call Center to answer last-minute questions.
This school year, more than 850 buses will make more than 3,600 trips every day to get children to and from school safely. According to DCPS, its buses travel about 10 million miles annually and have an on-time arrival rate of 98%.
Duval County is also ranked No. 1 in the state for having the newest fleet. That means this year, more students will be on buses that are air-conditioned, as the school district works to get 100% of its buses equipped with A/C.
"We also have larger capacity buses, so our students are able to enjoy those comforts," said Erika Harding, director of transportation for DCPS.
On Thursday, News4Jax got a look inside the school district's call center, where about two dozen people man the hotline that takes thousands of calls every week.
PHONE NUMBER FOR CALL CENTER: 904-381-RIDE (904-381-7433)
News4Jax also got an update on the number of bus drivers heading into the new year.
"We have enough drivers to cover the existing routes," Harding said.
The school district, however, is still slightly short on substitute drivers and looking to fill a couple dozen of those positions.
"We do have some," Harding said. "We'd like to increase those numbers."
Parents of kindergartners riding the bus for the first time must fill out the Kindergarten Dismissal Form and return it to their child's school before the first day of school. According to DCPS, the form provides instructions to the bus drivers on how parents want their kindergartner dropped off after school. Bus drivers are not able to transport any kindergartners for whom they do not have a copy of this form.
Kindergartners riding for the first time will be given a badge that can be zip-tied onto their backpack or placed on a lanyard around their neck.
"It's just an additional help to make sure that our kindergarten students are reunited with their families properly," Harding said.
If parents have questions about their child's bus stop or route, they can call the bus hotline will be accepting calls through from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 23. The number to call is 904-381-RIDE (904-381-7433).
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