CARMEL — Kids all across our area are heading back to school and many will see changes in their transportation due to a bus driver shortage.
One of those districts is Carmel Clay Schools. They are short about 50 drivers and had to create “no bus zones” which means people living within a mile of each school will need to find their own transportation.
“Carmel is an amazing school system," Michelle Goins, a parent said. "We have great educators, but I definitely didn't think we were going to have an issue with bussing."
“We live about a mile away. We have a five year old and the idea is that he's either going to have to walk, ride his bike, or we're going to have to bring him to school," Andrew Flittner, another parent explained. "Because of the new bus zone, my wife and I, we both work, and we're going to be taking our little guy…walking him to school every day or giving him a ride here."
Many parents have safety concerns over the “no bus zones.”
“There are people who are driving 35 to 45 miles an hour through the neighborhood in the morning," Flittner said.
Carmel city leaders said they will be installing at least nine new crosswalks with lights. They’re also working with Carmel Police to increase traffic enforcement in school zones.
"We want to solve this problem but they are not going to be able to hire the bus drivers right away. At some point it's going to get colder, at some point it's going to get darker, so having this plan in place really helps everybody,” Adam Aasen with the Carmel City Council, Southeast District said.
He said many parents are working together to create their own solutions as well.
“Parents are organizing carpools, organizing walking groups, they're coming up with a game plan," Aasen said. "They're trying to help that parent in their neighborhood maybe because of their work hours or mobility issues they're not able to walk their child to school.
“We will be really leaning on each other and it truly takes a village and hopefully we can get through this year and stay in school,” Goins said.
Carmel Clay School leaders say they have been dealing with a bus driver shortage for several years and they said the pandemic has made the problem worse.
They added that there have been 12 new applicants for bus driving positions since the “no bus zones” were announced last week.