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The Wingspan

The Wingspan

Howard County buses: Why is my bus late?

On the first day of school, students from all over Howard County waited aimlessly at their bus stops, wondering if their bus was ever going to arrive, and are sprinting across the school to get to class on time. Teachers and parents are having to figure out their students’ transportation to school because the bus routes are getting canceled. The same thing happens on the second day, the third day, and eventually continues on for weeks. Teachers get frustrated, parents get angry and the students are stressed, so the question arises; What has been going on with the buses?

The new school start times that Howard County implemented have been a hassle to adapt to, especially with the buses coming in late. Zum Transportation, the new bus company, has been experiencing several issues regarding errors in data and bus routes, sending students the wrong bus number, and contractor issues with the technology provided to those who need assistance. 

For the last six months, the superintendent, Dr. Martirano, and school leaders met weekly to deal with the issues of bus shortages and routes to ensure that the same problems from past years didn’t occur this year too. Even with all the effort going towards fixing the bus system, the first week of school started off disastrous, with the latest students all over the county coming to school at least 30 minutes late.

“It is still expected that some of our buses will experience delays during the second week of school, particularly for schools with start times of 8:40 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. I assure you that we are working hard on solutions to fix this continued challenge,” Michael Martirano mentioned in a statement in a recent town hall meeting. 

Howard County Superintendent Michael Matirano and Zum have been working on the problems, but have only come to a partial fix, stating that 11 of the 20 routes that were missing will be restored on Tuesday, September 5 as the district works with its contractors to get all routes back in service.

However, how do the teachers feel about this county-wide issue? Many teachers have become frustrated with their students coming late every day throughout the week, and students have even been forced to find their own ride to school because their bus never showed up. Katherine Parker, Centennial psychology teacher, shares her thoughts 

“Not only is it just setting a bad tone for the beginning of the school year, but it is also stressful for the students wanting to show up to class on time,” Parker mentioned. “It makes it harder for the school to enforce the rule of arriving to class on time when they aren’t able to deliver the students in a timely manner.”

A similar issue with the buses occurred during the 2021-2022 school year, with the double bus system, where the buses had to take two sets of kids home because there weren’t enough buses for all of the neighborhoods. Last year, however, the students were all aware that their bus was going to arrive later than usual—information that this year’s students were not able to have. The uncertainty of not knowing if your bus is ever going to come adds unnecessary “extra stress” to the students, Parker details. 

Teachers’ stress levels have also been affected by students coming in late. Even if they are flexible and understanding towards the issue, teachers are still “expected to plan for the whole 50 minutes,” Parker stated. “If 10 minutes are taken off, it definitely adds some frustration to the start of the day.”

Despite the troubles, the buses have been drastically getting better with the routes and times, and fewer and fewer students by the day have been arriving at school late. A problem like this isn’t an unusual occurrence that happens, especially at the start of the school year. As a school, students and teachers have to be flexible with these inevitable issues, even with the frustration that comes with it.


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About the Contributor
Blenda Undrakhbold, Feature Writer