MCPS cancels several bus routes


Elizabeth Dormorad

Due to cases of COVID and other sicknesses, students have been left without a ride in the past two months.

Cindy Jin, News Writer

Since the start of the school year, various morning and afternoon bus routes in MCPS have been canceled unexpectedly. These have often left many students with limited transportation. 

The main reason for the delays and cancellations has been the lack of bus drivers. According to The Washington Post, after the start of the pandemic, MCPS “has struggled to staff routes amid a national shortage of drivers.”

“The school system was looking into having a system like that of Prince George’s County Public Schools, which posts real-time information on how far a bus is and when it’s projected to arrive,” schools spokesman Chris Cram said, according to The Washington Post

RM magnet coordinator and transportation administrator Joseph Jelen provided more information on alternatives for students whose buses are canceled. 

There is a website that MCPS maintains for which routes are uncovered each day. So you’d have to check a log of which bus routes have been canceled,” Mr. Jelen said. 

Sophomore Jessica Bui rides bus 5122 in the afternoon. “My mom drives me to school in the morning,” Bui said. “Although my bus hasn’t been canceled yet, I imagine that it’s a huge problem for a lot of people.”

For students and parents wanting to keep up on bus updates, Mr. Jelen shares the way to easily find information. “A quick Google search for ‘MCPS Transportation’ [will suffice]. This is the spreadsheet of routes that are canceled for today, but you can go back and see the history [of cancellations],” Mr. Jelen said.

Mr. Jelen also explained why RM buses have not been arriving on time or going to their destination at all. “So generally speaking, the bus routes get canceled if a driver is uncovered. In other words, a driver calls in sick or calls out for any reason. They then don’t have enough spare bus drivers to run the route,” Mr. Jelen said. Before the pandemic, this did not pose a problem, but now there is a limited number of drivers who can substitute. 

However, there are alternative forms of transportation for MCPS students, such as Maryland’s attendance policy and the county’s RideOn system. “Say that if a student does not have transportation to school, [then] it’s an excused absence or a lawful absence,” said Mr. Jelen. “I would point …[students] to the RideOn system.” The RideOn public buses are free of cost as long as students provide IDs to the bus driver. 

“I think [the RideOn system is] convenient for many, but it’s not something that I would personally turn to,” Bui said.