The buses are back!
Charlotte-area drivers will see big, yellow CMS buses on the roads Aug. 17-21. Bus drivers will be behind the wheel each morning and afternoon, practicing their routes so they are familiar with their assignments and stops before the first day of school.

More than 1,150 school buses will conduct dry runs over the five-day period. Drivers, who have been in training over the past several weeks, will report to their assigned transportation areas next week to practice driving their routes and picking up students. Drivers will also work in small groups during the week for more individualized attention by instructors. During the dry runs and school year, the majority of buses will be on roads from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.

CMS is also reminding the public and other drivers to review school bus safety laws and to be patient during these dry runs and throughout the school year. When a school bus stops to pick up or discharge children, warning lights and a red stop sign are engaged and traffic must stop in both directions. Drivers should also watch for children in school zones and school crossings where the speed limit is reduced during certain school hours.

“Starting Aug. 25, there will be 1,155 school buses on the roads, as well as parents taking students to school and students driving themselves,” said Carol Stamper, executive director of transportation. “Please be careful and allow extra travel time so you’re not rushing to get to work when buses are back on the roads.”

This year, parents should also carefully check their child’s transportation assignment. To save money during a difficult budget year, CMS reduced the number of bus stops from 37,000 last year to 26,000 this year. Many bus stop locations have changed and families need to make sure they know where their stop is before the first day of school.

Suggestions for parents and children include:

  • Walk to and from your child’s school bus stop to become familiar with its location
  • Ensure that your child arrives at his/her stop 10 to 15 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive
  • Tell children to cross the street in front of the school bus after the stop arm and hazard lights come on
  • Remind children to tell the bus driver immediately if something is dropped near the bus

Transportation information, including the location of bus stops, pick-up and drop off times and bus-route numbers, is being mailed to families. Parents with questions about transportation or a bus stop should call their school. Parents can also fill out a transportation service request form online on the CMS Web site to request changes to their child’s transportation plan or to report unsafe stops. 

Media video/photo opportunity:  Dry runs begin at 5 a.m. Aug. 17 at the transportation staging areas. Media can get video or photo (from public property) of buses beginning dry runs at two locations: 6520 Orr Road and 3101 Wilkinson Blvd. Please note: Drivers are not available for interviews, ride-alongs are not allowed and the media is not permitted on CMS property during this time.