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'I don't think the bus company was well prepared': Transportation woes on first day in Howard County

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Posted at 3:59 PM, Aug 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-28 17:39:31-04

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — The first day of school for Youle Van Voorhees’ first grade son provided the first hint of the problems in Ellicott City when the bus showed up 15 minutes late, and they were some of the lucky ones.

“Middle schoolers are still waiting for their bus,” said Van Voorhees, “and then we found out from the neighbors that the middle school bus never showed up.”

With classes now starting at 8am at Dunloggin Middle School, that left parents in the lurch.

“Now, parents are rolling in at 10:30 to drop their kids off, because the bus never showed up,” said Van Voorhees.

As people began venting their frustration on Facebook, one post suggested 20 minutes into the 1st period at Mount Hebron High School, 17 buses were missing, and one apparently went to Baltimore County.

Problems after Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano had expressed faith in the new transportation system just a week ago.

“Through a lot of diligent work, since the spring to now and until the first day, we feel that we’re fully prepared for the first day,” the superintendent assured us.

Confidence, now missing from a note to parents on Monday, in which Martirano acknowledges several bus delays, no shows and parents left in the dark about their buses status.

It appears the problems were widespread throughout the county, and many are blaming the school system for bringing in an out-of-state bussing contractor.

“The schools were well prepared,” said Van Voorhees, “I don’t think the bus company was well prepared.”

The superintendent has pledged to personally monitor any transportation issues correcting them as quickly as possible.

“How are you supposed to trust the system when you’re just like, ‘This bus is over an hour late’?” asked Van Voorhees, “What I hear from most parents is like, ‘Is this what we should expect for the rest of the year?’”