‘We want to be on time:’ CMS Transportation Dept. says delays to be expected during first week of school

930 buses will hit the road on the first day of school on Monday
Currently, there are 45 open positions, despite being less than a week from the first day of school.
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 7:18 PM EDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Getting to and from school in a timely manner isn’t always guaranteed with unpredictable circumstances.

Come Monday, 930 school buses will hit the road taking thousands of students to and from school.

CMS Transportation Director Adam Johnson says the department’s goal is to get everyone to school on time, but delays should be expected with traffic and other external factors.

“We want to be on time, but please expect delays, just because we’re getting back out there with traffic, and as you know traffic in Charlotte on a regular day can be kind of hectic,” Johnson said. “When you plug an additional 930 buses on the road, you can expect some traffic delays. We will do our best to get to you.”

Related: CMS Board of Education approves 2022-23 budget that includes state-mandated raises

CMS started doing test runs with drivers and mechanics on Tuesday, and again on Wednesday and will continue test runs on Thursday.

“We’re looking at Road closures, detours, stop locations, that they might think is unsafe for students so we can address those this week and make sure we can get parents that information if there’s something a driver might need to take a detour or change a stop time or stop location for safety for kids,” Johnson said.

Rising eleventh grader Terri Agyei rides the bus to and from school each day. She says her bus was on time a majority of the time during the first few weeks of school but there were moments when getting home took longer than expected.

“We arrived home hours after we were supposed to get home,” Agyei said.

CMS advises students to get to their bus stops at least ten minutes earlier than the scheduled pick-up time in the event of any traffic or unexpected delays.

Last school year WBTV education reporter Courtney Cole noticed multiple students waiting at their bus stops after the start of the bell schedule.

Agyei says there were some mornings when her bus was up to 30 minutes late, thankfully her parents were still at home and able to give her a ride, but she says not every student has that option. She says her school did not mark late bus riders as tardy or absent since it was out of their control.

“My mom didn’t go off to work yet so she was able to take me...some other parents would say ‘hey do you guys need a ride to school?’ Because the bus had been thirty minutes late to the bus stop,” she said.

She says some neighboring parents were kind enough to offer a lift, but some students went home for the day, tired of the uncertainty of when their bus would come.

CMS is encouraging families to download and use the “Here Comes the Bus” app which can be used to track a student’s bus in real-time, see delays, see bus number changes, or schedule changes.

To download the app, enter your child’s student ID number and the district code 73877.

CMS says parents and students can expect some delays on the app during the first two weeks of school due to thousands of changes that impact transportation data, but the district assures the correct stop and schedule information will still be displayed.

CMS says if the app displays any errors with schedules, stops, or other changes, to contact the Transportation Department.

If families have any further questions and concerns, they are encouraged to contact the Synovia “Here Comes The Bus” app hotline at 1-844-854-9316 and or contact the CMS Transportation Department at 980-343-6715.

“Parents always use your ‘Here comes the bus app’ to track Your child’s bus and make sure you have that downloaded on your phone so you’re ready for that first day of school,” Johnson said.

Agyei says she plans to use the app in the future and encourages other students to be patient and have a plan B for transportation.

“Patience is key and just have a backup plan because you never know,” she said.