Muscogee County School District working to combat bus shortages

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 11:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A critical bus driver shortage is impacting kids in the Chattahoochee Valley. Some are even seeing longer than wait normal wait times just to be picked up or dropped off. The Muscogee County School District is working to address this issue.

There are 63 vacancies for just normal bus drivers and 14 for special needs bus drivers. News Leader 9 spoke with the Chief Operations and Facilities Officer Travis Anderson, who says not only does the shortage of bus drivers play a role in the delay, but the increase of students riding the bus is also playing a role in this problem.

Anderson says, “And the fact that we have increased ridership, we believe we have increased ridership because parents are more comfortable with COVID as well as the increase in gas prices so don’t wanna drive this through to school, and we also think that parents are having to return to the workplace into the office and they’re not able to bring their students and children their children to school, so we’re looking forward to having those increase riders but it does put a strain on our resources because we have fewer bus drivers.”

Godfrey Jackson, Director of Transportation, says they are working diligently to fill these open positions.

“But we do have 14 drivers that are finishing up training, and they should be assigned as of next week, so that’ll lessen that burden there’s also twelve more additional drivers that are in the August class, 12 more addition plus more that are coming so we’re trying to lessen that gap that we continue to recruit to get more employees behind the wheel,” said Jackson.

The pay for drivers during training has also gone up. It once was $8 an hour. Now it’s $15 an hour.

The Director of Transportation says soon parents will be able to track the location of their child’s bus with the Stopfinder app to keep parents in the know – in real-time – where their child’s bus is and when it will arrive.

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