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Bus Driver Shortage to Delay Columbus Students

COLUMBUS (Ken Hines/Maria Durant) -- A lack of bus drivers will lead to a lot of late arrivals on the first day of school in the state's largest district.

Sixty-five temporary drivers originally scheduled to transport Columbus City Schools students through September will not be available Wednesday, leaving 51 routes uncovered.

The temporary workers were expected to fill in for new drivers who are currently working to complete training programs.

Morning pickups for some elementary school students will be delayed by up to 30 minutes because of the shortage -- but high school students will likely be more annoyed at the consequences of the drivers' absence.

"The biggest impact will be to the high school students, because we are going to dismiss elementary and middles at the regular time, [and] high school will dismiss at the regular time, but the buses won't get back in time to pick them up," Columbus City Schools spokesperson Jeff Warner said.

The delay will likely force many high school students to remain on school grounds until the buses return at approximately 4 p.m.

Warner did not know which routes will be affected as of Wednesday morning, but said any high school students forced to wait will be supervised.

District officials have not divulged the reason why the temporary drivers -- from Community Bus Inc., V.A.T. Inc., and First Group America -- will be unable to serve Columbus students on Wednesday.
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