Boston school officials announced this afternoon they have enough drivers and supervisors to cover all of the 155 routes for school dismissal and buses should run on time.
The announcement comes after another hectic morning of school transportation. The Boston School Department eventually got all of its buses on the road, but some ran as much as an hour late.
School officials took to Twitter and the department’s website to keep parents posted on the status of each morning bus run. The events unfolded a day after dozens of buses failed to show up or arrived late to bus stops amid a contract dispute with the bus drivers union, stranding hundreds of students.
“We managed to patch things together but it was very close, and far too many routes were significantly delayed,” Lee McGuire, a School Department spokesman, said in an e-mail. “Families had to face far too much uncertainty this morning. The union assured us that drivers would be here, and for a second day, not enough people decided to drive. This has to change.”
In a statement, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said he is “incredibly frustrated” by the problems. He said he is monitoring the negotiations between the contractor that runs the bus system and the union.
“I expect that they will reach a resolution that will provide certainty for all families every day. This is what students and parents deserve,” Walsh said. “The current situation, however, does not appear to be about a new contract. It is unfortunate that a small group of drivers have refused to participate.”
Nearly 3,500 students were scheduled to take buses this morning, and about a third of them boarded buses running late.
In an effort to ensure a bus covered every stop, transportation officials had to consolidate 175 routes into 140. Some drivers who finished a route then turned around to do another route.
“This is the primary reason we had some significant delays,” McGuire said.
Thirty-two charter schools and special education programs are holding classes today — well in advance of the Sept. 4 opening day for most Boston public schools.
Tuesday morning started off with a bleak situation at dawn: Dozens of routes were not covered, and transportation officials were struggling to secure additional drivers, even though more than 600 drivers are employed.
By 7 a.m., 20 routes remained uncovered, and transportation officials frantically began pulling supervisors away from managerial jobs and putting them behind the wheel. Shortly, after 8 a.m. officials announced all routes were covered.
As a fallback plan, Boston school officials worked out a deal with the MBTA so students could ride for free today. They also advised parents to come up with their own transportation contingency plans.
The school bus drivers have been working without a contract since June. The inability of the drivers and Transdev, the private company that oversees the city’s bus yards and employs the drivers, to reach an agreement is raising concerns that the drivers could go on strike.
Dumond Louis, president of the school bus drivers’ union, said he could not comment this morning because “he was extremely busy” working on the busing issues, but said he would talk later.
This week’s problems come almost a year after bus drivers staged a surprise one-day work stoppage that stranded thousands of students at bus stops across the city.