October 08, 2006

Wanna Drive a Bus?

If so, it seems like every school district in the country is interested in hiring you. The Herald Sun has a story on schools grappling with a lack of bus drivers.

"I am a frustrated parent," Haubert declared at one recent school board meeting. "I am tired of the same old excuses for the past four years: 'We don't have enough drivers.'"

It's not quite the Orange County Schools' fault that Haubert's kids are late either, administrators say.

Officials say they face the same problem many North Carolina school systems have faced for years: a driver shortage.

Well, to be blunt - yes it is your fault. It's your responsibility to have enough drivers and if you don't have enough drivers...it's your fault! What could they possibly do to fix the situation?

..."It's been like that for a while, and I don't know what it is. The pay's good. They're making $10 to $12 an hour."

The driving job is part time, for one thing, and it only lasts through the school year -- stopping abruptly when summer vacation begins.

So bus drivers often quit once they gain year-round employment, leaving school districts with buses and no one to man them.

Unless I'm mistaken, I believe that Orange County has a transportation department (OPT) that employees a number of bus drivers. Perhaps some kind of arrangement could be made between the two groups?

But with dozens fewer drivers than it needed, the school system faced a major problem. Calls from angry parents...flooded in.


School system officials switched into crisis mode, sending workers from the central office to answer phones in the bus garage.

They set up recruitment tables in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Hillsborough, which is close by the district's central and transportation offices.


The school system also has signed on a part-time recruiter to find drivers.

The techniques have worked.

And, that my friends, is why it is the schools fault. If they can find bus drivers after the school year starts by part-time recruiting, then they sure as shoot could find enough drivers BEFORE the school year by having a full-time recruiter and setting out tables at Wal-Mart, Target, and other high-traffic sites. Let's repeat this slowly, IT. IS. YOUR. FAULT.

Next year, how about getting started fixing the problem before it becomes a problem?


WillR said...

Unbelievable! Great idea about transit folks. Wonder what the price point would be to bring more drivers on? $15/hr. - $20/hr.? Hey, I could almost do it once a day - wonder if they'd consider a half-time, part-timer?

Robert P said...

I'll be seeing all three transit folks next week, so I'll ask what might be done. From the sounds of it, this is a state-wide problem, so maybe we can lead the way on a new methodology.