Call center answers back to school transportation questions

A one-stop shop for information on students' routes, bustops

By Kaitlyn Shemenski - Producer
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DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. - Bus questions...answered. This is the Duval County School District's School Bus Information call center. And the twenty people here have one mission: to make sure Duval County parents get their questions answered about their students routes.

"They can ask for anything about transportation, like where's my bustop what time does the bus arrive," says the districts's Assistant Superintendent of Operations Paul Soares. "They can call in say if the bus is overcrowded."

Soares says dialing 381-RIDE can make the beginning of the school year a lot easier.

"We're running as I mentioned just under 1,000 buses so we transport 50,000 people 50,000 students so thats a lot of people 42 and you can guarantee that there are going to be a lot of questions."

Soars says they have been working on bus routes all summer. This year there are a few new routes, and extended school hours at 50 schools. Soares says even though they've done practice runs, parents still have to patient.

"Times may be late first 5 or 10 minutes on that first day or 15 minutes and then each day it gets better so usually by the 3rd or 4th day things are running on time."

Soares suggest getting bus stops early. In addition to patience, Soares also asked parents and other drivers to practice safety.

- Be alert and watch for students potentially darting out into traffic – students may be confused about where to wait for their bus.

- Pay extra attention to the lower speed limits in school zone.

- Know Florida's school bus stop law – in most cases motorists stop when approaching any school bus displaying flashing red lights with stop signs extended.

-Only drive in or park in authorized areas to drop off or pick up students at school.

"We ask for people to be careful look out for buses look out for the stop arms 26 realize that near the bus stops children may walk out into the streets so obey the speed limits drive carefully just be more alert," says Soares.

Parents can call 381-RIDE from 7:00 AM – 6:30 PM
It's open Monday – Friday from August 5th – August 29th.
You can also find route info on line at click the department tab then click the transportation page.

If you have a kindergarten student the district wants to remind you you have to fill out a dismissal form at the school and give a copy to the bus driver before a student is allowed to ride the bus home.

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