ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Public School District is hoping to get a break from the bus driver shortage now that the regular school year is over and summer school has started.

Officials said they only have to transport 3,400 kids in the summer as opposed to about 15,000 in the regular school year. Many parents said they have struggled with getting their kids to school because often the buses would show up late or not at all.


Brenda Grays is one of those parents who called FOX 2’s You Paid For It team because her sixth-grader kept getting stranded. It got so bad that she had to pay to get her son to school.

“I had to pay a cab $17 to take him to school. I asked them were they going to reimburse me for my money for bringing him to school and picking him up from school,” she said.

Grays said she was frustrated when the bus company and school district told her she could not be reimbursed.

“I think they paid the bus company to pick these kids up,” she said. “They have a cab company that you can call, and they put you on hold. Then, they hang up.”

The school district spends more than a million dollars to provide taxi cabs and other ways to get kids to school. A district spokesperson released the following statement Friday:

We are deeply sorry for the challenges this family and others are facing as we navigate the ongoing bus driver shortage currently challenging districts across the country. As a large, urban district with 15-16,000 bus riders and St. Louis public schools are being impacted the hardest. Our transportation team provides immediate assistance to families and in some cases, we call the cabs for them. Cab companies and other transportation agencies we have contracted with are paid by the district. When they cannot pick up, our alternative is to send rescue buses. We do not have a policy for reimbursing for outside transportation.

Parents like Grays are hoping for a better deal next school year for buses, something the school district says is not their fault.

“Whose fault is it? Whose fault is it? It ain’t the parent’s fault,” Grays said. “The bus doesn’t show up and then you can’t get a cab. What are we supposed to do? Keep spending our money to send him to school when they are getting money to pay for him to come to school.”