By Tim McNicholas

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools administrators say they’re working to get school buses arriving on time after a CBS 2 report on parents frustrated by delays and no-shows during the first week of school.

But today–for the third straight day–parents tell us the problems are persisting.

“It’s just really, really frustrating,” CPS parent Laurie Viets said.

For Viets and her kids, the frustration started Tuesday–the first day of school.

She said they waited about a half hour for the morning school bus, which is operated by Sunrise–one of the companies contracted by CPS.

“Finally, I gave up and drove,” Viets said.

Wednesday, they rode the bus, but it showed up more than a half hour after the scheduled pickup window of 6:43 a.m. to 6:53 a.m.

“I thought for sure, today (Wednesday). The third day. The third day they’re going to be somewhat on time,” she said. “They arrived at 7:42 a.m.”

The school is more than four miles from her home.

She says the delays are tough on her sons in particular because they have special needs.

The same is true for Aidan Hughes, a student who lives on the southwest side.

CBS 2 waited with him Wednesday morning as his Sunrise bus showed up 30 minutes behind schedule.

“When a child with autism is expecting the bus to come and then they don’t show up, it’s really heart-wrenching to watch how dysregulating that can be,” Aidan’s mom, Mary Fahey-Hughes said.

CBS 2 has made several attempts to contact Sunrise to ask what is causing the delays. Tuesday, CBS 2 reporter Dana Kozlov showed up at their office and was told to leave. An employee threatened to call the police.

The company sent us a statement Wednesday saying challenges are common at the start of the year and they’re working on the problems.

CPS Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson described the problems as “a few glitches.”

She said it is not due to a bus driver shortage.

“We had a few routes that we had to make adjustments on and I expect by the end of the week, we will see that stablize and we’ll be on the right path,” Jackson said.

CBS 2 will be checking on that.

CPS said, starting next week, they could potentially fine bus companies for being late.

CBS 2 also heard from a parent who said her general education students experienced delays. It appears the delays are not just an issue for special needs students.


Tim McNicholas