More than 400 West Seneca students are not included in school bus routes

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – On the first day of the new school year, problems have already begun with school bus routes in West Seneca.

According to the school district, 405 students, about 7% of the entire district, are “missing” in the routing process.

The district said the district implemented new bus routing software over the summer and “all systems appeared to be working properly. However, when the system was pressure tested with actual bus trips, the system and software did not work together properly, resulting in delays and errors,” the district said in a statement Thursday.

News 4 received multiple reports from parents that their children were not picked up for school Thursday morning or were picked up after school ended on the district’s first day of school Thursday. The parents of the affected students received a robocall after 3 p.m. notifying them that they needed to pick up their students from school and that the parent portal on the district website would be updated daily with bus schedules.

“It was like it was her first day of school. Like it’s a new district and all the schools popped up this morning,” said Brian Zipp, who has two elementary school students in the district.

Parents say they typically receive their students’ bus assignments in the last week of August. This year, parents were supposed to receive assignments through a new online portal, but as of Thursday morning, more than 400 students were left without a bus.

“We shouldn’t have to call carriers for two days with no one answering and leave messages with no one calling. I called the school this morning. Nobody called me back, I still haven’t called me back.”

“I called 28 times. My phone says I called 28 times to find out what time it was and what was going on,” added Catherine Niemira, who has two sons in elementary schools in West Seneca. “I don’t have a lot of trust in the bus repair shop.”

Zipp says he doesn’t buy the software error and blames the district for a lack of planning.

“Did you test the software this morning or two days ago? Not even a week ago? “Everything just took too long,” Zipp added.

News 4 has also heard from parents at Queen of Heaven School who have experienced the same issues, and Queen of Heaven has not returned our request for comment.

Niemira’s 7-year-old son has autism and is nonverbal. At one point Thursday, she didn’t know where her son was, leaving her scared and emotional until he finally made it home.

“The office told us he was sent home. I emailed his teacher, my husband left, the teacher says no, he is still here but he now has a bus number and is sent to that bus number,” Niemira added. “He was really upset because he was put on a bus, taken off the bus and then put on another bus, and that’s really hard for autistic kids to do with change.”

Area school districts are experiencing a shortage of school bus drivers as the new school year begins. Buffalo Public Schools continues to struggle with a shortage of school bus drivers, while the Niagara Falls City School District announced it would implement staggered start times to address the driver shortage.

News 4 reached out to West Seneca Central Schools for an on-camera interview, but our request was not returned. We received a statement that was sent to families on Thursday afternoon.

“Rest assured that with the expertise of both our software provider and our bus app providers, we are working diligently to resolve the issues we experienced today,” the West Seneca District said. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.”

Aidan Joly joined the News 4 team in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.

Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, NY, a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook And Twitter and find more of her work here.

Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing

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