OKLAHOMA CITY – A metro mom is fed up after she says her daughter and other Western Heights students have waited an hour or more the last few days for the school bus. And this isn’t the first time she’s come to us with the same complaint.
The mother says in the spot where the kids have to wait there is no sidewalk and nearby is a very busy interstate.
That is just one of her many concerns.
“The traffic starts coming off the freeway at that time and trying to find a way around the holdups and this is a dead-end street,” said Tanzy Colasanti.
She says it’s normal to see kids waiting an hour or more in this busy spot.
Colasanti’s daughter is an 8th grader at Western Heights Middle School and says this is an ongoing problem.
We first talked to her about late buses two years ago.
“It’s unfortunate that I have to call the news and I can’t get any response from the school district,” said Colasanti.
The district told News 4 in 2017 they were going through a shortage of bus drivers at that time and to make matters worse – five bus drivers were absent.
Colasanti had a similar story on Monday.
“This morning they said there were five bus drivers that called in sick,” she said.
She says her daughter waited an hour Monday and even longer Thursday and Friday.
The family lives near Southwest 48th and By Pass Terrace – not far from I-44 and in walking distance of two Oklahoma City schools, but Colasanti lives in the Western Heights District.
Those schools are about 6 miles away and depending on traffic, the drive takes around 10 minutes or more.
That’s a drive sometimes she makes to make sure her child gets to school.
“That’s a lot of gas to go all the way down to Council and back,” Colasanti said.
But she knows not all parents can do that, and with the temperatures falling, she hopes the wait times get shorter.
The district says they’re experiencing a shortage of bus drivers and agree the delay is unreasonable.
Some have quit and they’re trying to rearrange schedules.
The superintendent says the bus will probably run about 20 minutes late tomorrow but they are doing what they can.
He says it’s tough to hire because of the lack of funding for transportation in Oklahoma.
You can call the district at (405) 350-3410 if you want to apply to drive the bus.
Western Heights has even increased pay and guaranteed 8 hours and benefits for bus drivers.