First Student promises better bus service for Unit 5 families

First Student promises better bus service for Unit 5 families

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MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

Will Unit 5's buses be back on track in McLean County this year? It's a question that school officials, parents and students hope to have answered soon, as class is back in session in about a week. Today at the school board meeting the bus company promised the district better service.

This comes after First Student, the company that provides the bus service, had issues last year getting kids to and from school. Some of those issues included a shortage of bus drivers, which caused consistent overcrowding, with kids left standing in the aisles. There were also cases where kids were dropped off on the wrong side of town after school. But  this year the new local manager for First Student is trying to assure the district this will not be an issue again this year.

For example, the manager says if one bus is deemed too crowded, the company will have another bus ready to come pick up overflow students. Also, to maintain consistency with the routes the morning drop-off drivers will pick-up the same kids, with the same routes in the afternoon. First Student is in its last year of its contract with the school district. And Unit 5's Superintendent says that if the school year goes the way they hope, they will renew that contract. 

"We expect the service that we had at the end of last year, to continue to this year. And... through our trial and tribulations we think we've, we now have an adequate service and the various steps and measures put in place by First Student." says Superintendent Mark Daniel.

Other school board members said at the end of the meeting they felt reassured and are approaching the upcoming school year with a renewed sense of optimism when it comes to student transportation. 

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