School Bus Driver shortages continue to cause concern, especially with the start to the School Year just right around the corner. School Bus companies across our coverage area, like Mlaker Transportation in Somerset County, are busy at work this time of year prepping for the upcoming school year; such as filling Bus Driver positions.
Matt Mlaker, Vice President of Mlaker Transportation saying: “As of right now we have just enough school bus drivers for all the runs.” Although Mlaker says they currently do have enough School Bus Drivers for each route – there is still a shortage. Mlaker adding: “School bus driver shortages is a local, state, national really crisis anymore. It, were seeing shortages that we’ve never seen ever in this industry.”
Mlaker says the pandemic really hit the transportation industry hard, and that’s when he really noticed School Bus Driver shortages. Mlaker adding: “Unfortunately COVID was at a real time change for everybody, but especially our industry. We’ve seen hiring come to a complete stalemate.” Dr. Samuel Romesberg, Superintendent of Shanksville-Stonycreek School District adding: “We work with Mlaker Transportation out of Davidsville. We’ve been, we’ve had a relationship with them for about 8 years since 2016.” Dr. Romesberg says he also noticed how severe School Bus Driver shortages were with the Pandemic as well. Romesberg adding: “When we first started with Mlaker’s in 2016 we had ample drivers and substitutes in the event their starting drivers couldn’t run a route, we had substitutes. Recently, were lucky to have enough drivers to run each route.”
Since then. Mlaker says to fill these empty positions – they try to recruit drivers in many ways. Matt Mlaker, in closing: “We do all the paperwork, all the clearances, all the training. Our trainers take the time to make sure that each person’s comfortable driving before they get out on the road, so they have no concerns or issues once holding the students.”