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Lucia Mar cancels bus routes due to driver shortage, illnesses

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Posted at 7:10 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 23:12:32-04

A bus driver shortage and illnesses forced the Lucia Mar Unified School District (LMUSD) to cancel bus routes on Friday, leaving some parents who rely on this transportation feeling frustrated.

Four different schools and more than 200 students were affected.

“I am that parent that is struggling with transportation especially for p.m. because I work from 11 to 7 and it‘s just getting complicated where my kids have to walk from school and sometimes ask for rides," said parent Reyna Ventura.

She was one of many parents who struggled to find a ride for her children on Friday.

“It's just getting to the point where I have to close the door to my business every time to go pick them. It’s just getting to the point where I am losing clients," Ventura added.

She has four children at four different schools within the school district, but she wasn’t the only parent affected. Other parents took to social media to voice their concerns.

“I think it’s important that they know we understand this is a real hardship for some of our families," said LMUSD Human Resources Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Handy.

School district officials said they are doing everything they can to keep the buses running.

“We have everyone driving who possibly can. That means our drivers are driving, our supervisors are driving, our mechanics are driving, so when we have to cancel a route, we really are at a place where we don’t have any other options," Handy explained.

Handy said in an ideal world, the district would have 28 drivers, but right now they have eight.

“With our labor partners recently, last year [we] negotiated an increase in wages. We have a signing bonus of $2,500," Handy said.

LMUSD officials also said they are reimbursing any fees that are associated with becoming a bus driver.

The school district advises parents to have "Parent Square" notifications turned on so they’re alerted when these cancellations occur. They also suggest having a buddy system so you have someone who can take your child to school when this happens.

A new bus driver training class will begin Monday, September 19 at 10:30 a.m. at 710 Huasna Road.