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Bus Drivers Still Needed

The state an effort to recruit those with commercial driver’s licenses to fill the Bus driver shortage, which they provided an update on Thursday. Earlier this month, PennDOT reached out to thousands of CDL License holders. Today,
the deputy PennDOT secretary announced that more than 15 hundred CDL License holders have expressed interest in becoming a bus driver.

He reiterated that the Commonwealth has the lowest amount of bus drivers in nearly five years. According to a Pennsylvania School Bus Association official, Ryan Dillinger, salaries for drivers will vary by region and by the contractor, noting that some contractors are implementing various bonuses, including sign on ones.

This training and professionalism has resulted in the American School Bus Council publishing a rather impressive statistic in that students on a school bus or approximately 70 times more likely to reach school safely than if they were traveling by car to calm down.

School bus drivers are heroes, and it is long overdue that we recognize them as such. Kurt Meyer, the deputy PennDOT secretary, re-emphasize the safety that school buses provide. PennDOT anticipates this outreach. An increase in available availability for skills test scheduling will help to ensure the safe and effective transportation of our Commonwealth students.

The Education Secretary, Noe Ortega, also reiterated the scope of the shortage. There are shortages across the country. “This is not a problem that’s unique to Pennsylvania, and we know it’s not one that we can solve overnight, but we are keeping our eyes on the situation and responding in the best way we can by building coalitions, by facilitating connections and by putting out the call surrounding the alarm about this critical need”

Meyer said they are looking for approximately 2000 drivers to fill the shortage, but said the more the better that would be. That would be the number that would bring us back up to a point.

“I think all of us would feel much more comfortable in the ability to be able to get the students to school. But certainly, as with any industry, there’s changeover. There are people who retire, so we need to continue to to keep the pipeline full, if you will, according to area school district superintendents and transportation chiefs I spoke with.”

They are running smoothly but are always looking for more bus drivers. However, I don’t tuna area school district. The situation is becoming more severe. Their director of business operations tells me that beginning of the year we were kind of freaky and we didn’t have any staff.

We didn’t have any extra drivers at that point in time. We’ve had, you know, the normal illnesses that head people. We’ve had some resignation, you know, those types of things, and there’s nobody left to replenish the staff. Susan Franks, the district’s director of business operations, said they still run all routes but are looking at alternative strategies to combat the shortage.

She reassures all parents that the district is doing the best they can to provide safe and timely transportation of their kids to school. If you have a commercial driver’s license and are interested in becoming a bus driver, please check her website for more information.

Reporting from Center County This is Douglas Braff.

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