Deal struck with bus company to reduce shortage for Pittsburgh Public Schools

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Public Schools struck a deal with a bus company to help solve a shortage of school buses the district has been facing.

Pittsburgh Transportation Group will provide three, 30-passenger buses that will serve six schools. The agreement starts May 10.

While the deal helps, the problem hasn’t been completely solved.

The district was short about 1,300 bus seats for students. Now, that shortage is down to about 500-600.

The issue stems from a bus driver shortage. The district said earlier in April that it was short 200 drivers.

Some families have been helping out, either releasing their child’s seat on a bus or offering to drive their child and others to school. And, of course, some students are sticking with all remote learning.

According to Pittsburgh Publics Schools, 7,751 students have chosen to stay remote for the remainder of the year.

The final chunk of Pittsburgh Public Schools students that will transition to hybrid learning start that schedule on Monday -- one week before the agreement with Pittsburgh Transportation Group begins.

“It’s also worth mentioning the option for Port Authority Connect tickets is also still available for all families. So, if they are in that gap for the first week, Port Authority Connect tickets is still an option they can utilize before the Pittsburgh Transportation Group fills in some of the holes,” Mike McNamara, Pittsburgh Public Schools’ interim chief operations officer, said.

>>STORY: Some Pittsburgh Public Schools students to be given Port Authority vouchers to get to school

If parents still can’t find a way to get their children to school, there’s a special code that can be marked on their attendance record that indicates they’re supposed to be in the classroom but are at home.

The district said it will call parents to let them know if their children have a seat on the bus.