Kansas City Public Schools bus delays blamed on prank, miscommunication

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some Kansas City, Mo. Public Schools students were left sitting at the bus stop for a second straight day. Almost all those students go to Lincoln College Prep Academy and ride Daye Transportation buses.

The bus company’s owner says the problems on the morning of the first day of school Monday, stemmed from a practical joke gone wrong. Someone switched all the keys around on the buses, leading more than half of Lincoln Prep students to find other ways to school. Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell’s own two children were among that group.

“We were assured that all of the buses would be at Lincoln at the conclusion of yesterday,” Dr. Bedell said.

But the problems continued Monday afternoon, when 5 of the 21 buses didn’t show up to take students home from school. Despite emergency meetings, Tuesday morning, 4 buses didn’t pick up students, and according to the Superintendent at least 4 more were late.

Then Tuesday afternoon, a Daye Transportation bus picked up students at Lincoln Prep 45 minutes after the final bell.

“Where I`m disappointed as a superintendent is we can`t have repeated mistakes. I can`t afford to justify to parents why your kid is sitting out for hours waiting on a kid to pick your kids up, why our kids are missing breakfast,” Dr. Bedell said.

Daye Transportation stepped in to help out First Student by taking over a few routes.

“The breakdown comes when I received the routes, initially 5 days before school started,” bus company owner Patrick Daye said.

He says KCPS and TransPar, the company which manages their bus routes, initially gave him 7 more routes than he said he could handle. And then the late timing led to disgruntled drivers who didn’t come back to work Monday afternoon.

“Sometimes you have drivers say ‘This is ridiculous, you want me to do this? You are just giving me a turn by turn sheet?’ Five days or three days isn`t enough time to prepare and be successful at doing a route,” Daye said.

Though each side said they share part of the blame, each seems unhappy with the other, creating a very rocky relationship just two days into the school year.

“We are going to look at our contract and make sure we can continue to have a partnership that makes sense, but that`s going to make sure that kids get what they need. If companies can`t deliver on that, whether it`s transportation or some sort of academic vendor, that`s when I have to make the decision as Superintendent to part ways,” Dr. Bedell said.

“I`d like to sit down and have a conversation with the superintendent and see which way we are going to move forward, I offered my services because of a lack of a driver service on the other end, and now I`m being beat down with that,” Daye said.

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