PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Friday afternoon email from officials at Portland Public Schools left parents scrambling to find a solution after 13 bus routes were canceled or changed.
Some parents who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they kept their student home on Monday because of a lack of transportation arrangements. Others had another student drive them to school. But that is tricky because schools like Lincoln High School have very little parking for students who drive.
The bus routes canceled impacted hundreds at both Benson Polytechnic and Lincoln High.
One parent who spoke with KOIN 6 News and lives along Skyline said she’s staying solution-focused. She said she’s checked out the Sunset Transit Station MAX drop-off for her 14- and 16-year-old students.
It’s the quickest, easiest option and it’s clean, she said.
“Hey, we’ve done it, it’s good,” Marci Bloss said. “My kids have no complaints. They much prefer it than driving to school.”
She admitted she was nervous with public transit at first, but realized taking her kids to the MAX is a time-saver and is safe.
Instead of spending 45 minutes driving to school in traffic, it only takes her 10 minutes to get her students to the public transit station.
PPS officials said they are working around the clock to resolve this situation. PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said the nationwide bus driver shortage is at its worst since the start of the pandemic.
“We’re not resting until we have a guaranteed way of getting all of our students to school to satisfy our primary mission,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero said the district has strategies in motion, including recruiting a few dozen new drivers who are undergoing training this month, helping impacted families with a stipend and creating technology to connect people for carpooling. Guerrero has also spoken to state leaders about temporarily using the National Guard to bridge the gap.