Shortage Of School Bus Drivers Sparks Concern In New York

The wheels on the bus go round and round, but they require someone behind the wheel to drive them.

School districts in New York are concerned about a bus driver shortage.
School districts in New York are concerned about a bus driver shortage. Photo Credit: NYSSBA

New York school districts are facing a shortage of bus drivers, according to a brand new report released by the New York State School Boards Association, New York Association for Pupil Transportation and National Association for Pupil Transportation.

The report found that bus driver shortages are the number one concern for 60 percent of school districts in the state, according to transportation directors. An additional 23 percent of districts reported that they consider it a “major” concern.

According to the report, the groups behind it found that federal and state requirements to acquire a commercial driver’s license has become more costly and time-consuming. They requested additional testing sites and times.

“In addition, the absence of school bus drivers jeopardizes the potential of the state’s nearly 700 school districts to explore innovative learning models and school choice strategies which require moving children from one location to another or delivering children to school at various hours in the day,” the report stated. “Some require transportation to and from after-school programs or related activities."

The report also found that some districts have been forced to use mechanics as drivers, some field trips have been canceled, and the shortage has led to longer trips for students who often arrive late to their destination.

According to Josh Turley, the CEO of a national fleet management software firm, shop managers “are trying to make sure that they have enough vehicles to cover the routes, but can’t fix the buses because they only have their mechanics for four hours in a day. It puts them in a very difficult position to keep up with not only breakdowns, but routine maintenance and safety checks as well. We’ve discussed how the technician shortage has impacted fleets, but driver shortage is having just as big if not a bigger impact in maintenance operations.”

The complete report can be found here.

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