About 200 Jordan District students were left waiting Wednesday morning in sub-freezing temperatures for buses that never came.

Fifteen buses had brakes freeze up as they began their routes for the first time since the holiday break, leaving many of the vehicles stranded roadside, district spokeswoman Melinda Colton said. The district dispatched some back-up buses to its 350-bus fleet — taking many drivers out of the office — and sent maintenance vehicles out with blowtorches to warm up air lines to brakes on stranded vehicles, she said.

Thirteen of the buses were special education routes, in which students are picked up at their homes, Colton said. Those parents were called and told buses would be up to an hour late.

But the parents of the other two regular school bus routes could not be contacted, as there was no one in the transportation office to do so. About 200 students, believed to be mostly in the West Jordan area, then waited a half hour or more for buses that never came.

"It was just a very unfortunate situation we feel terrible about," Colton said. "We apologize to the students."

Colton said the majority of students eventually got to school.

The school district buses 20,000 students to school each day.

Colton said workers came in during the holiday break to start bus engines, but the extra-cold weather took a toll anyway.

She said the district will look at ways to improve communication with parents in the future. Meanwhile, parents may want to form a backup plan in the event students wait for a bus for more than 15 or 20 minutes. Or, call the transportation department at 567-8840 or check www.jordandistrict.org for bus alerts.

E-mail: jtcook@desnews.com