A bus company contracted to take on a bigger chunk of St. Paul School District routes this year encountered a "rough start" to a new school year on Tuesday, a schools spokeswoman said.
Students were left waiting at various stops across the city as the company, Minnesota Central Bus, increased the number of routes it runs from two, a year ago, to 84 this year.
Schools spokeswoman Toya Stewart Downey said late Tuesday afternoon that she did not know how many students were affected by delays or were skipped altogether. But she said reports from parents and principals had students making their way to school -- be it by walking or by catching rides from family or friends.
Minnesota Central Bus is one of six bus companies now under contract with the district. This year, the company opened a depot in St. Paul to handle its increased workload. On Tuesday, however, it ran into difficulties because of inexperience with routes as well as problems with GPS tracking systems and road construction, Stewart Downey said.
Drivers who were directed to make test runs before opening day reported that a road would be open one day but closed the next, she said.
The district's contract with Minnesota Central Bus says that the company must have a pattern of nonperformance before contract changes can be made. The district, which sent some of its transportation staff members to the company's depot to help tend to glitches, will continue to monitor the situation, Stewart Downey said.