With some students already starting school this week and others approaching there is one problem, bus drivers are scarce. 7News has been tracking a growing list of local school districts that are experiencing school bus driver shortages.
According to 7News, Prince George’s County Public Schools are looking to hire about 200 bus drivers, while Montgomery County Public Schools need about 100 drivers. Frederick County Public Schools are short on driving staff also.
Stafford County in Virginia recently voted to increase signing bonuses and starting pay for bus drivers. Prince William Public Schools have about 100 slots to fill and have 44 drivers their training. Fairfax County which is the largest school district needs help as well but hasn’t specified any numbers.
Francine Furby who is the Director of Transportation Services for Fairfax Public Schools mentioned:
“At this time, we currently have a fleet of about 1,600 school buses, and we have about 1,100 bus drivers, and we are always looking to increase our bus driver pool. We are looking for drivers, it’s ongoing all the time. That number is fluid with how many drivers we need and how many vacancies we have.
“This is a nationwide issue that we’re facing, with having a shortage of bus drivers. It’s not just in Fairfax, and it’s something we realize is critical.”
The 2021-2022 school year is returning to full-time, in-person learning for school districts as many were all virtual for much of the 2020-2021 school year. The correlation between bus drivers being needed and virtual school learning is very apparent. Some drivers didn’t want to come back after finding new jobs.
As most students physically return to school in @FCPSMaryland for the first time since March of last year, the school system is dealing with a bus driver shortage. Some drivers will have to run multiple routes and some bus stops have been changed. @7NewsDC #BacktoSchool2021 pic.twitter.com/NZgkmzXHIj
— John Gonzalez (@John7News) August 18, 2021