“Worst Shortage Ever”: Bus Drivers needed for Osseo Schools
The first day of school is only a week away for many local schools and local bus companies are scrambling to find enough drivers. The shortage could cause delays in kids getting picked up.
“We have about 163 routes. We transport about 12,000 children to and from school every single day for Osseo,” says Jenifer Doyle with First Student bus company.
For First Student, the driver shortage is nothing new. But this year’s shortage is worse than ever before. The company is still looking for about 30 drivers.
“This is probably about the third really challenging year in a row we’ve had,” said Doyle. “I have been a safety professional for about the last 15 years, and this is the worse shortage we have been through in quite some time.”
“All Routes Will Have Drivers”
Luckily First Student bus company is big enough to make sure all routes are covered. Ultimately it’s their responsibility to make sure they have enough buses for all the routes.
“We work very closely with the district,” said Doyle. “It is ultimately our responsibility to make sure there is a driver on every bus. I don’t want parents to panic, we absolutely have the drivers available. There will be a bus for every route. There will be a driver on every bus.”
Doyle says First Student, the nation’s largest provider of school transportation, brings in drivers from other communities. However, all the shuffling around can cause some issues.
“Some of the drawbacks is that you don’t have a regular driver every single day,” added Doyle. “It’s going to be a different person. Which then, they don’t build the relationship with the students like we would want them to. Some of the drivers aren’t familiar with the area because they are from other communities. So, there will be some delays and some hiccups and we do appreciate the patience of parents through those times.”
The company hopes parents can overlook minor bumps in the road. It also hope potential employees won’t overlook school bus driver as a potential job.
“Part of the reason we are lacking drivers is because it’s a part-time job,” says Doyle. “Another part of it, is because it takes a lot to get your commercial driver’s license. It takes a lot to get your permit and to get your commercial license. There are so many jobs available that it’s frequently overlooked as an option.”
Another reason the company faces challenges specifically in Minnesota is because of the unemployment rate.
“Minnesota is definitely our most challenging as market for First Student as a company,” added Doyle. “There is such a low unemployment rate, which is great for the economy. However, it makes it difficult to find commercial drivers.”
How You Can Apply
If you want to become a school bus driver you must be 21 years of age or older and be able to pass a criminal background check. You can apply online with First Student by clicking here, or you can give the company a call at 763-421-2219.