YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – WKBN 27 First News received a complaint about the school buses for Youngstown City Schools (YCS). One mother said her son sometimes doesn’t have a ride to or from school due to issues at the bus garage.

Lashonna Shakoor’s son, an 8th grader at Stambaugh Charter Academy, relies on the bus each day. She says she is frustrated with the number of times her son hasn’t had a ride this school year.

“In my child’s case, there is no way possible that he can walk home,” she said.

YCS Transportation Consultant Joe Meranto said they’ve made a lot of progress in the last couple of months, but that “they have a ways to go.”

Meranto was brought in by Youngstown City School District CEO Justin Jennings just a few months back. He believes there are various factors contributing to the busing problem.

“There is a national shortage of bus drivers,” he said.

In addition, it’s hard to find drivers when bus drivers call off. He believes COVID-19 is one of the main issues.

It’s not just Youngstown City Schools students impacted by the shortage. The district’s buses provide transportation for other schools in the area, too. The buses transport more than 6,000 students to 45 buildings each day. One of those is Stambaugh Charter Academy.

“I just would like to see our children in this inner-city school system be put first. Make it a first priority to get them home and get them home safely, no matter what they have to do. It needs to be done,” Shakoor said.

Meranto said they are working on new routes that will be implemented in the next couple of weeks, which will increase efficiency.

“It’s going to increase the service and hopefully it’s going to help us eliminate having to cancel bus runs if a driver calls off,” he said.

Youngstown City Schools is currently hiring bus drivers. You can learn more online.