Parents in Howard County are still scrambling to get their children to class on time after two weeks of school bus delays and cancellations.
In June, the Maryland school district signed a five-year contract with Zūm, a California-based transportation company that boasts “safe, reliable, and sustainable” student busing.
But on the first day of school, parents woke up to news that 20 bus routes had been canceled. And not much has changed since. Buses are consistently late for pick-up and drop-off, sometimes delayed by an hour or more, parents said. And sometimes, they don’t show up at all.
Kiran Adimoolam said that no bus has shown up over the past two weeks for her oldest son, who is supposed to receive specialized transportation because of his disability accommodations.
“Things like that should not happen, but it has happened,” Adimoolam said. “I was provided with the bus number and pick-up time. But so far, the bus never shows up.”
Adimoolam and her husband both work as doctors. Since August 28, they’ve been alternating driving their son to and from Pointers Run Elementary School.
“It’s a last-minute struggle,” she said. “It’s so hard to find someone to drop him off on short notice. I’ve been taking time off from my work, canceling patients. So it has a tangible effect.”
The most frustrating part is the lack of communication, Adimoolam said.
“The uncertainty is really bothering me,” she said. “If only they told me, ‘Hey, you will not be getting transportation for so and so days,’ then I can make some arrangements, like I can have at least a concrete plan.”