Statewide Bus Crisis Causes Late Arrivals


Credit: Sophia Oppenheim

Lining up at the entrance of the high school, the bus drivers prepare for dismissal. Many students taking these buses have dealt with late arrival times to school and home. “At the beginning of the year the bus driver doesn’t know their route very well,” Junior Hannah Gordon said. “It’s a lot of waiting and being late to school that’s completely avoidable.”

Sophia Oppenheim

Wayland High School and Wayland Middle School students have been arriving late to school because of Wayland’s buses. Students are being dropped off and picked up at later times than originally set for the bus routes.

During the first week of school, multiple buses arrived late at students’ houses, picking them up to go to the school 10 to 30 minutes late. Multiple buses have arrived after school starts, causing students to miss parts of their first block class. One of these buses was bus twelve. The late arrival of the bus made many students late to class and caused others to have to find other kinds of transportation to school.

“The bus was at least 15 minutes late, so I got a ride,” junior Hannah Gordon said. “There are a lot of middle schoolers and freshmen on my bus and all of them were affected.”

Because of the unreliable timing of the bus pick up, bus twelve’s route was changed and the times were revised from the original set pick up times. For Gordon, her bus was originally scheduled to arrive at 8:25 am, but it is now scheduled to arrive at 8:12 am.

“At the beginning of the year the bus driver doesn’t know their route very well, and the kids are confused and it’s the first time going through the route so it takes a bit longer,” Gordon said. “It’s a lot of waiting and being late to school that’s completely avoidable.”

However, bus problems have not only been happening in Wayland, but throughout the state other towns have been struggling to access bus drivers. Due to the shortage of bus drivers, Governor Charlie Baker deployed around 250 national guard personnel to drive Massachusetts school buses, and 90 national guard personnel began training. The problem became so bad that the Boston school bus drivers’ union prepared to postpone the first day of school due to the lack of drivers.

Another bus affecting students’ arrival times was bus four. Last year due to the pandemic, buses only drove a limited number of students. Now that buses are getting reacquainted to Wayland’s schools, the positions of where buses drop off students at the school has changed. The buses used to line up around the longer loop by the field house, but now the buses line up in front of the small loop at the entrance of the north and south buildings.

“I think that maybe the bus drivers haven’t gotten used to this year’s routes since it’s changed since last year, because there were no buses last year,” Sophomore Missy Prince said.

Although students get no penalty for arriving late to their classes when their bus is the reason for them being late, many students still stress about their arrival times to school.

“Getting to class late is kind of frustrating, even though it’s not my fault it’s saying something about me as a student when I am late. I know that teachers understand that it’s the bus and it’s probably frustrating for them too,” Prince said. “Also, just feeling behind from missing the first part of class can set up your day feeling kind of lost or behind in your classes.”

While some students do not have a choice to take the bus, other students can drive themselves or can be driven by a family member or friend. Even with being driven to school, the traffic that is created with all the vehicles entering the building is still causing students to be late to class.

“I don’t take the bus because it can cause you to be late, even though sometimes the traffic at the school just causes me to be late in general,” junior Jun Waye said. “The bus also always comes to your house at a specific time, and I am ready for school at different times each day, making it hard for me to take the bus, if I did.”

Throughout students’ high school careers they are able to get their license; however, some are able to start driving earlier than others based on birthdays, causing carpooling to become a popular option for students that do not take the bus.

“I have a late birthday so I get my license later than a lot of the other kids in my grade,” Waye said. “It’s okay though because my friends with a license can drive me. Not having my license and having my family drive me to school instead is better than having to take the bus to school.”