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School bus snafu delayed some CPS students for several hours

Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 18:52:13-05

CINCINNATI — Some children in Cincinnati Public Schools got home well past dark and several hours late Thursday night because of problems with the bus system.

Ayanna Greer said her son didn't get home until 9 p.m. and all the while she didn't know where he was.

“I was scared for my son because he’s 12 and he has issues with anxiety,” Greer told WCPO 9 News on Friday. "I wasn’t sure when he was going to come home. Or if he was even going to make it home."

Greer said she got a robocall from the school district at 2:30 p.m. Thursday saying kids would be home anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes late. The robocall said the bus company, Queen City Transportation, was having mechanical issues and had to consolidate bus routes.

That meant some kids would be driven miles out of their way.

Greer said the drive from Frederick Douglass Elementary to their Walnut Hills home is usually less than 20 minutes. But it took her son five hours to get home.

“My son got on the bus at 7 that morning. He didn't return home until 9 o'clock… For a child to be on a bus that long is unacceptable," Greer said.

To make matters worse, the bus dropped her son off at the wrong place, she said.

“I’m so upset because not only were they late, but they dropped him off up the street ... not in front of the house. It’s pitch black,” Greer said.

Greer said her son texted that he got on the bus at 4 p.m. She said his teacher kept in contact with her, but that she couldn't get answers from the school district about where her son was.

"I got a call about 7 o’clock, 7:30 from the driver saying they’re doing everything they can. They had 50 kids on the bus, and they were just trying to get everybody home,” Greer said.

When her son finally got home, "they still had one kid they had to drop off in Beechmont,” Greer said.

A CPS spokesperson told WCPO 9 News Thursday night that “it's an unfortunate situation. We are dealing with it the best we can."

But Greer was upset by the lack of communication as well as the delay.

“No phone call from Cincinnati Public Schools. No call from the bus company,” she said.

Greer said she wanted the district to explain what happened and how they're going to prevent it from happening again.

“I understand accidents happen, but they need a better backup plan,” Greer said.

Although Greer was stressed out, she said her son provided her some comfort once he got home.

“My son Zaire, he’s so loving. And he says, 'Mommy, it’s not their fault. Don’t be mad at the bus driver.' So that kind of made me feel better that he was OK,” she said.

CPS told us Friday that the fuel provider contaminated 69 mini-buses and those buses were serviced overnight to address that problem.

But the problems for Greer and her son continued Friday morning.

Greer said the bus didn’t show up and she had to drive her son to school. Then she got a phone call from the district notifying her that he was “tardy.”

Greer said she decided to pick up her son from school, too, instead of putting him on the bus because she was too worried it would all happen again.

The district did not return calls for an on-camera interview Friday. We reached out to Queen City Transportation but didn't hear back from them.