August 19, 2019
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Lewiston bus driver accused of forgetting to pick up students

Micky Bedell | BDN
Micky Bedell | BDN
A bus driver reportedly forgot to pick up students. The school superintendent admits the driver made a mistake.

Parents say several young Lewiston students were stuck waiting Wednesday morning when their bus driver forgot to pick them up.

The school superintendent admits the driver made a mistake.

Four children, all under the age of 7, were waiting for Bus 26 to take them to Lewiston’s McMahon Elementary School, but parents Jennifer Banton and Kris Burgess say the bus passed them and just kept going.

“They know they’re supposed to be at school, getting breakfast. This is what we’re supposed to do every day, and now we can’t,” Burgess said.

According to Lewiston’s route schedule, the bus is supposed to pick up at that stop between 8:10 and 8:20 a.m., and get the kids to school by 8:30 a.m.

Banton and Burgess say for years the bus has been late.

“It’s never on time — never once been on time,” Banton said.

Wednesday, when it was almost 8:30 and still no bus, they called the school and Hudson Bus Lines, the bus contractor, to see what was going on.

“It’s concerning because I feel like it’s really interfering with my children’s education. They’re showing up late to school,” Banton said.

“It increases anxiety. That’s not a way to start a day,” Burgess said.

Superintendent Bill Webster says the driver made a mistake and is sorry it happened.

“A bus driver, a new bus driver I should mention, did not follow the designated route, and kids were not picked up,” Webster said.

He says a van was sent to pick up the kids and had them to school by 8:45 a.m.

“Our kids had been outside for about 40 minutes,” Banton said.

Webster said issues like this are expected at the start of a new school year, and said he hasn’t heard about any other issues with buses being late.

A manager at Hudson Bus Lines says he’s working with the school department to look into what happened and resolve any issues.

Despite past problems with Hudson, including buses that broke down during the winter of 2015, leaving students in the cold, Webster said he’s pleased with the company’s performance.

“I think the issues with Hudson have been far and few between, I think they’re one of the best bus transportation companies in the state of Maine,” Webster said.

Webster said he encourages parents to call the transportation office when there are any bus-related issues.

He says they’ll work quickly to resolve them.

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