Problems with buses keep kids in the cold

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WUSA9) -- Parents and their children found themselves out in the cold waiting at the bus stop longer than usual in Fairfax and Prince William Counties.

Even with a two hour delay, buses weren't getting to the bus stop on time.

Rose-Ellen Eastman eventually gave up on the bus for her 9-year-old daughter.

"It was getting colder and colder it seemed and apparently an email had come while we were on our way, so we didn't know. We waited for 15 minutes the bus didn't come and while they might have been trying to, we weren't going to let the kids stand out there so we piled as many as we could into the minivan," says Eastman.

Fairfax County School buses had a host of problems. 150 buses out of their fleet of 1500 wouldn't start this morning.

"Replacing batteries, fuel lines have been freezing, some of their brakes freezing," Jeff Platenberg, Fairfax County Schools Chief Operating Officer.

In neighboring Prince William County the problem was also mechanical and icy road conditions.

Karen Peak on Facebook posted pictures of icy roads in Dale City. She decided to keep her children at home because of unsafe road conditions.

While the school system in Prince William County alerted parents the night before, Fairfax County sent out an email Friday morning.

Parents were frustrated about that late email that wasn't very clear to them. They weren't sure if their particular kid's bus was going to be late or not and in some cases parents had already dropped their children off before they got the email.

"It just said they'll be late, could be very late. As a mom I'm reading this as maybe not coming," said Eastman.

"Either there is a bus or isn't. Possibly not having a bus is not acceptable," Amanda Mahon.

"It doesn't matter the number of buses when you think about the square miles we have in this county. If it's your child's bus it's a problem," says Plantenberg.

The mother of 4 says at least 3 of her children's buses came on time including her youngest going to Shrevewood Elementary in Falls Church.

"It's a little frustrating. I understand the county is very large, but I'm happy they're going to school because I don't want them going to school in July, " Eastman said.

There were no problems reported dropping kids after school.

Fairfax County has no indoor garage. These buses had been sitting idle since last week. Fairfax County Schools did have crews start up the fleet for the last couple of days but the weather still got to them.

Fairfax County has two snow days to make up. One will be made up on President's Day and another on April 7th.


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