Flood relocations change Cedar Rapids school bus routes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flood relocations change Cedar Rapids school bus routes

by Brady Smith

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Before the flood, bus driver Dawn Drake had the same route for 8 years.

"I drove for Taylor School, and they closed," Drake said.

She now picks up students from a completely different school, meaning a whole new set of faces, a different list of stops, and longer hours of picking up and dropping off.

"I used to run about two and a half hours, and now I'm up to almost three hours now. I don't have those same kids, and I miss them dearly," Drake said.

Other drivers have experienced similar post-flood changes, according to District Transportation Manager Margaret Hamed. Students displaced by the flood moved around, and many did so without letting the district know.

"People were living with family members, neighbors, and in campers," Hamed said. "The locating of the families was quite a process."

She says the month of August was a scramble to find out where many students had moved, and how they were going to fit in to the new bus maps.

"You've got to take into consideration we're now travelling into Marion, where the manufactured FEMA home park is," Hamed said. 

For Drake, a 20-year veteran bus driver and trainer, learning her new route wasn't especially difficult. However, for less-experienced drivers, Drake says it caused a few problems.

"Some of our drivers are not from this area, and then they have all new streets to learn, and new houses to find," Drake said.

Currently, Hamed isn't sure how all of this will affect district spending, because though the bus fleet's mileage has risen by about 600 miles a day, diesel prices have dropped. A mid-year report will give them an idea of how their budget has been impacted.

Hamed estimates it could be 2 to 3 years before the Cedar Rapids School District's bus routes return to the way they were before the flood.

Online Reporter: Brady Smith

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