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COVID-19, driver shortage forces ASD to temporarily suspend some bus routes

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 8:07 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Many parents will have to find other ways to get their children to Anchorage public schools for the time being as the Anchorage School District announced that starting Aug. 30, it will temporarily suspend bus service for some routes.

“We no longer have a sufficient number of drivers to drive all of the bus routes,” said Anchorage School District Chief Operating Officer Tom Roth.

He blames COVID-19 for the majority of the shortage.

“We had this week alone six drivers test positive with two additional drivers, who are demonstrating symptoms, have tested and just waiting for the results” Roth said.

The school district currently has around 200 bus drivers. According to Roth, that’s below the 250 the district usually has to transport close to 24,000 students each day to elementary, middle and high school. Many of the drivers are hired by Reliant Transportation which a busing contractor used by the district.

The district doubled up routes, and consolidated others to alleviate the shortage. But Roth said that did not solve the problem, and the district simply had no choice but to temporarily suspend bus service for certain routes.

The interruptions will take place in four groups, each lasting for about three weeks through Nov. 19.

“That may be adequate time that this corrects itself,” Roth said. “I just don’t know in so far as we continue to have a large number of COVID outbreak, COVID cases.”

Roth did say the suspension of bus service will not affect special education students.

Meanwhile, People Mover said middle and high school students ride can ride its buses for free to get to their campuses.

The full list of suspended routes can be read on the school district’s website.

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