Explainer: New bus routes in Rapides Parish

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 8:39 PM CDT
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - On Tuesday, August 3, bus drivers in Rapides Parish started bidding on bus routes for the upcoming school year, which starts the following week.

KALB received numerous phone calls and messages from some drivers who were frustrated with the bidding process, along with the implementation of a new routing system.

These issues were brought up at the August school board meeting, with one school board member even suggesting that the board wait until next year to implement the new system to avoid chaos with school starting so soon and having to deal with COVID-19.

Leron Batiste, the Director of Transportation for the Rapides Parish School Board, has been working to clear up issues. We spoke to him to get some clarity on the bidding process and the new system:

“It’s a computerized routing software, but it also supports our maintenance. School transportation departments are to have a seniority roster so that drivers are listed in order of start date and they are assigned their routes that they drive based on their seniority dates. We have all the routes that we have currently available up for bid and then they provided us with five options. So, if their seniority didn’t take them to their first choice it would go to their second choice and third choice and so on and so forth.”

There are 198 contracted bus drivers for Rapides Parish. Routes will be assigned to drivers on Thursday, August 5 when they’ll also be doing dry runs of those routes.

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