Doug Peach, contract manager for First Student, said late last week he expected transportation for Northridge students to be better by Monday, after a rough start on the first day of school on Wednesday.

Doug Peach, contract manager for First Student, said late last week he expected transportation for Northridge students to be better by Monday, after a rough start on the first day of school on Wednesday.

"The first day is always a little stressful and with the changes in the district, we were trying to make sure everyone was getting on the right bus," Peach told The Independent.

That caused delays from the get-go, he said, and problems compounded throughout the day.

Although the morning routes went smoothly on opening day of classes, the ride home was long and complicated, Peach said.

"We had such a major change this year in the routing and with closing two elementary schools," he said. "In the past, it went quicker. You were only dealing with these children at this school. Now we're dealing with everything ranging from one student from Mount Vernon to Pataskala all in one building."

Peach said he expected transportation to run more efficiently by this coming week, with an hour and a half being the longest any student will be on a bus.

"I do apologize for taking so long (Wednesday)," he said. "If I have a first-grader and live in the north end of the district, it was every bit of two hours and that's hard. It was the worst afternoon I've ever had, and I've done this for 20 years.

"By Monday, I'm sure it won't be an issue any more," Peach said. "We're moving forward."

Anyone with questions about transportation can call the bus garage at 967-7533.

-- Marla Kuhlman