Bus driver shortage causes hours-long delays on first day of school in Duval County

Some delays lasted longer than 90 minutes

Duval County’s Superintendent, Dr. Diana Greene, is asking families for patience after dozens of buses were late on the first day of school Monday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County’s Superintendent, Dr. Diana Greene, is asking families for patience after dozens of buses were late on the first day of school Monday.

Greene said the delays – like what families saw Monday – are pretty typical for the first days and weeks of the school year. News4Jax monitored those delays before and after school was in session.

In the morning – most of the delays were in the Arlington and the Southside area around 5:30 a.m. when the first wave of buses typically hit the road. In the evening, the delays were essentially citywide.

Related: Patience is key: Duval County bus drivers double up on routes due to shortage | Bus delays, hotlines, teacher shortages: Everything you need to know as school begins

Greene said since routes change every year – drivers will have to get used to the more than 900 routes across the county. Some drivers are also doubling up on routes to fill the gaps left by the driver shortage.

There are 735 buses in the district, but only 662 drivers between the two contractors, Student Transportation of America (STA) and Durham.

Greene originally said the district had plans to hire 50 additional drivers, now she says 100. Overall, though, Dr. Greene said the first day was pretty successful in handling the district’s teacher shortage. She said 95% of substitute teaching requests were filled on day one – that was only 75% last year.

She also said district-level staff and administrators had to cover classrooms Monday as well.

Of the 133,000 students enrolled in Duval County – Dr. Greene said about 111,000 attended classes on the first day. She said she’s hopeful that the gap will disappear by the end of the week.

Click here for an updated list of bus delays.

Hotline

If you have a question about transportation you can always call the district’s transportation hotline. That’s 904-858-6200. Someone will answer your call from 7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Those extended hours will last for the next two weeks.

Duval County Transportation Hotline

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Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.