Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles responds to your ‘Ask The Mayor’ questions: Frustrated Parents

The following is an ‘Ask The Mayor’ question submitted to TLS, and the Mayor’s response. Email your questions for the Mayor to [email protected]

Question:

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of the town. At this point we are turning to you since we spoke to Jays and LSTA and didn’t get answers.

On behalf of the parents of BEM 1 run by Jays, I am writing this letter after another frustrating morning. The bus never showed this morning, and none of us could get hold of a dispatcher to get an update. We are extremely annoyed about what is happening to our route. We are aware that there is a shortage of drivers, but that shouldn’t impact so many of us parents and children. This has been an issue in previous years as well, so covid can’t be the only excuse.

At this point there isn’t a permanent driver for the route. We were informed to come to the stop early in case the sub comes early. Us parents have a choice, either let our daughters wait outside in the cold for 30+ minutes, or wait in the car with them. Not only does waiting for the bus throw off our whole morning, many of our other children (without bussing) are late to school and we are late to work. When the bus doesn’t come, we cannot start driving them across town in traffic at 9:15!

As parents, we have tried to do what we can. We created a chat, so that the first stop should inform the rest when the bus comes. When the bus is really late, we call the Jays dispatcher and hope they pick up to give us updates.

We understand these are trying times with covid and a shortage of drivers. But this is 2021. There should be a way to have proper communication between the bus company and parents. If we receive a message at 7am that there is no driver, we could rearrange our morning and make a carpool. If we receive a message that the bus will be there 15 minutes late, our little girls won’t have to wait in the cold so long. An accident on the previous route, let us know. Proper communication can alleviate so much stress.

Please let us know if you can help us.

Thank you,
Frustrated parents

Response from Mayor Coles:

Good afternoon

I’ve been in contact with LSTA & The MVC.

It seems the main problem is getting new drivers CDL licenses and existing ones renewals.

We will try to get as many of these drivers fixed up so they will be able to help alleviate the shortage.

Ray

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Jay’s has GPS trackers on all their buses – there is no reason why they don’t share it with the parents there are plenty of apps and programs out there for allowing parents to see where their child’s bus is.

  2. Agree! Were in 2021 there’s no reason they can’t update the parents with an email or text if the bus is running late or no driver that day. It’s not right that we’ve waited half hour or longer to then realize we need to drive them…jay’s should be able to set up this system with no big deal….

  3. we had that last week also. waited over half hour in the rain until dispatcher finally answered the phone and told us the bus is running late and probably wont make it at all. later they told us that he skipped our route completely.

  4. My girls also waited 45 minutes in the cold. Bus didn’t show up. Is the second time in as many week.
    My son does not have bussing altogether! I have to pick him up everyday.
    The morning bus stops 2 blocks away from my house but driver refuses to stop at our corner because it’s not the official stop. LSTA assured me in october that he was on the list of changes….we’re still waiting!
    Very frustrating to say the least!!!

  5. Haven’t had a bus for my sons 4:00 dismissal in 2 years. The excuse I’m told is that it’s a loss for the bus company to pick up the route. Not sure what that means. Lots of fun sitting in Route 9 traffic at that hour.
    Also my 2 sons separate morning routes with the same driver didn’t show up last week for 2 days due to the weather, we had a sub for 1 day and was told the second day they couldn’t get a sub, Very frustrating especially when the bus company doesn’t pick up the phone after redialing 15 times (without exaggerating) and sitting on hold…
    A tracking system for all parents would be very helpful for parents and bus companies.
    Having a monopoly on bussing is not an excuse for the attitude given…

  6. The responsibility is on the bus company. There is no reason why when my sons bus is 15 minutes late and I actually get thru to a jays dispatcher after trying numerous times, that I am informing them that the route never started. The company needs to get their act together and be aware if their worker does not show up or if the run is not running. I am sick and tired of calling to find out where the bus is (I am the first stop) and they have no idea that the bus driver did not show to work. That is not how a business should work. Upper management or dispatchers should know if a run started or if there is no driver. There is zero a achrayus here. If you own a company ans the worker doesn’t show u should know about it. A customer should def no be the one that informs you! Enough is enough someone needs to take responsibility.

  7. The situation with buses is ridiculous…my daughter gets to school late every day because the bus comes late..Every child that comes late to school everyday would be ququ.she’s a special need child that coming late every day makes a huge mess in her structure and therefore struggles throughout the day! I’m fighting with the boe and buses company for months at this point the only answer they have is sorry due to covid the public school route is later! ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!

  8. We have the same issue with klarr for bb3 and bb12. At least by jays they dont lie to you like klarr that the bus will be there in 30 minutes and than doesnt come, or it comes an hour later. And worse they changed our bus dismissal time to an hour earlier. When we do call klarr they slam the phone down on us. I know jay tries really hard and they even resend out a bus when they screw up even just for one kid. My jays experience overall is very good. Klarr treats the kids like trash and theres nobody home with them.

  9. I agree 1000% with the frustration that everyone is expressing. I have had my share of issues with the way the busses are run. It is a combination of blame to the bus companies and to the LSTA on how they run the system.
    The one thing I have been told regarding parents tracking the busses is that it’s a safety concern for the children to have people tracking the busses. I don’t know if that’s true, but it makes sense not to have people able to track the busses.

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