Anchorage School District warns of traffic delays as bus service rotates to next group of students

students in bus seats
East High School students sit in a school bus early Tuesday morning on Aug. 30, 2022. (Mizelle Mayo/Alaska Public Media)

A new group of Anchorage students has bus service for the next three weeks. The Anchorage School District shifted drivers to its second cohort of bus routes Monday.

This fall, the district has divided its bus routes into three cohorts as it deals with a driver shortage. Each cohort has bus transportation for three weeks in a row, and then goes six weeks without.

The district said Anchorage residents can expect traffic delays on the east side of town as those students now go several weeks without bus service, and more families drive to school. Delays are expected near Bartlett High School, Begich Middle School, Bettye Davis East High School and Wendler Middle School.

The district’s chief operating officer, Rob Holland, said district leaders will take what they learned during cohort one and apply it to cohort two.

“We’ve worked with partners at the state and the muni level, in terms of traffic engineers, to help us with some signaling concerns, and that did help a lot,” Holland said. “We’ve learned a lot about traffic flows on campuses, especially at our largest schools like our high schools.”

Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt said he’s thankful to parents who’ve helped with carpools.

“We’ve been really pleased with attendance,” he said. “Our average attendance continues to be over 90%.”

The district needs 60 more drivers in order to staff all routes. Bryantt said 37 new drivers are in training, and 12 others will start on Sept. 19. The district is currently interviewing 20 additional candidates.

Monday was also the first day active duty airmen drove Anchorage School District buses on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

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