We start a series this week on school bus drivers – reasons they don’t stay in their job, dealing with the problem and future demands.
Most of us have known a school bus driver that has made a career out of transporting children to and from school. But these are getting fewer and fewer. A bus driver shortage has plagued the system for several years and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Here are some reasons why you don’t see school bus drivers sticking around for years:
- School bus drivers earn less than any other CDL class drivers on the road.
- Drivers work a split shift so there is a limited number of hours they can get. In many cases, extra work, like field trips, pay less than a regular route.
- Even if they are offered benefits like full-time employees, they are still considered part-time. But the split shift hours (morning route and afternoon route) leaves little time to get in another part-time job.
- Because of the part-time hours, most bus drivers cannot afford health insurance or any other benefits, even if offered.
- Many drivers have to pay for school bus training, pre-employment background checks, drug tests, and a physical out of their pocket.
- One of the main reasons drivers are bailing out of this job faster is upper management or administration of bus companies and school districts. Grievances include administrators not backing the drivers up, policies don’t support drivers, disciplinary actions that are perceived as unfair, not showing enough appreciation for older employees, and too many hoops for drivers to jump through to get administrators to discipline children for unsafe behavior on the school bus.
With a shortage of school bus drivers and the demand for more drivers picking up, bus companies and school districts should take a look at this problem closely and take it very seriously.