School bus problems continue week after school starts

Mother says bus comes late every day

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. - There were more complaints about the Broward Public School District's transportation from parents who claim too many school buses are late, off their routes, or leave their children at school or on the street.

"It's been horrible. I mean, the Broward transportation, I don't know what they're doing," said Patricia Bandke.

Bandke drops her children off at the bus stop at 7:45 a.m.,  heads to work, and then waits anxiously for the phone to ring.

"It's very nerve wracking," said Bandke. "I get to my job and I'm sitting here waiting for my son to text me or call me that he's safely on the bus, and I'm constantly on the phone when I'm supposed to be working and not concentrate on whether they've made it to school or not."

Bandke said every day, the bus to take her boys to New River Middle School in Fort Lauderdale is late, sometimes by 40 minutes. One day last week, she said it didn't come until almost 11 a.m.

"The parents must have called. They sent a replacement bus and then the kids got to school at 11 a.m. in the morning," said Bandke.

It's the latest complaint to a messy start for the Broward County Public Schools Transportation Department. Problems began when hundreds of parents didn't receive their children's bus route information before the first day of school.

On Wednesday, bus drivers and school board members slammed Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie over his comments that the bus drivers were sabotaging the transportation department.

School board members said they are unable to determine the size of the problem.

"I have no idea right now how many routes are running smoothly, how many routes aren't running smoothly, how many people are calling each day, and that's the information I want so I can monitor you to make sure you're moving in the right direction to fix," said Robin Bartleman.

Transportation officials promise they are working on fixing the problems. Bandke said there's no assurance her children are safe until they do.

"They're out there on Davie Road, waiting to get picked up where there's a lot of traffic and they're having to wait way too long," said Bandke.

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