Transportation Official: First day of Madison County’s new bus route schedule “unmitigated disaster”

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala (WHNT) – Mass confusion, bus delays, and a lot of angry parents. That about sums up the first day of school in Madison County.

Dan Evans, Madison County School District’s Director of Operations, admits the execution of their new staggered school start times and bus routes has not been without its headaches.

“I had no allusion that it would be perfect from the beginning,” said Evans. “It`s just going to take time”

Since Tuesday, there has been some improvement. Earlier this week, Evans met with New Hope High School and other area principals to determine a solution for delayed buses on that route. They consolidated some routes and rerouted others.

The plan has also succeeded in alleviating 90% of bus overcrowding, the primary motivation for the change.

“Our other option is to put more than 70 children on the majority of our buses which is unsafe. We`re just not going to do something that is unsafe.”

Over the next few weeks they district will continue to modify the bus routes and schedules as needed.

But no matter what modifications are made, Evans says some problems are only really solved with money – and this is one of them.

For the past few years the Transportation department has operated on $1 million less than they had received in 2008.  Buying new buses has been deemed a financial impossibility.

While Evans and his team works out the kinks in the new plan, all they can ask for is parent’s patience.

“This really has put a hardship on our parents ,our bus drivers, and lots of our employees,” said Evans. “But it’s the only financial thing we could do.”