NIAGARA COUNTY, NY (WKBW) — The shortage of school bus drivers is forcing more parents to drive their children to and from school, but it can cause traffic tie ups and safety issues.
Two districts in Niagara County have worked to make dropping off and picking up students safer.
“It has been an ongoing development,” explained Paul Casseri, superintendent, Lewiston-Porter Central School District.
Superintendent Casseri says they're actually encouraging parents to drive their children to school because of bus driver shortages.
"60-percent still ride the bus, about 40-percent drive, but normally that's about 80/20 or even less — 90/10 split,” Casseri noted.
But that is creating traffic challenges along internal roads ways where the schools are located.
Traffic cones are staged in front of the Lew-Port Middle School.
Superintendent Casseri says they also created a form for the elementary students to make the pick up process faster for parents.
“The family just has to show that form and a picture ID and the children are sent out,” described Casseri.
Casseri says the process is “going really well”.
In the Niagara Falls City School District there is also a big increase in the number of families dropping off and picking up their children.
“We’ve seen a real up tick in parents driving too and picking up from school and I think it's a direct result in the bus driver shortages,” remarked Mark Laurrie, superintendent, Niagara Falls City Schools.
Superintendent Laurrie says they have earlier dismissal for the high school students to reduce traffic tie ups and have added extra patrols for safety.
“We do see more traffic around our elementary schools, however, to the point where we have through out board of education, extended a contract to off duty police officers to work as traffic control in four of our schools for the safety of kids,” Laurrie noted.
The district set up traffic dividers installed last Friday outside Harry F. Abate Elementary School on Lockport Street. Laurrie tells me more of then will be added soon.
“I don't see the bus driver shortage ending soon, so we are already beginning talks with our unions regarding changes in dismissal and arrival times to combat this bus driver shortage,” reflected Laurrie.