Dry runs for OPS school buses ahead of first day, call center open for questions

Published: Aug. 9, 2017 at 5:09 PM CDT
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Omaha Public School buses were out bright and early Wednesday for their dry runs before school starts. So were call center workers with a new company that's partnering with OPS this year.

With a week to go until school starts for Omaha Public Schools there's some kinks to work out — including when and where the bus will get your student. The district is working to prevent last year’s transportation nightmares.

It's at the North End Teleservices Call Center that representatives are taking your busing questions.During peak times in the morning and after school, these agents jump on the phone to provide additional helpers for OPS' busy transportation phone lines.

This year parents call one number and they're connected to OPS and Student Transportation of America for all your concerns.

“This is a one stop phone number for parents to call so through a single number you get through to a call center. It's seamless to the parents that there are multiple call centers that are a part of the network,” said Carmen Tapio, President and CEO North End Teleservices.

Two hours in Wednesday, the three agents working had taken 18 calls. It may not sound like a lot, but school hasn't started yet. In one week this board will light up.

Meanwhile all across the city more than 400 buses were testing their new routes. OPS says they do these dry runs every year to adjust the schedules for the first day. New this year, STA drivers got their routes two months earlier than normal which gave them time to prepare.

“We want to make sure we're arriving at the stops on time according to the letters that go to the students,” said OPS Transportation Operations Specialist Traci Shobe.”We can try to make adjustment to assist them with arriving on time on the first day of school.”

After buses never showed up for some students last year, the district is hoping these changes will ensure every student arrives to class for the first bell on the first day.

“We value the role we play in students live and arriving to their home or arriving to their stop just makes it an A+ day from the beginning,” said Shobe.