Several school districts still facing a shortage of bus drivers

Back to School

SALINA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With the first day of school right around the corner, some school districts are still facing a shortage of bus drivers.

The push is on to hire enough drivers to make sure your kids get to and from school safely.

Throughout Robin Hansen’s many years of working in the transportation industry, she hasn’t needed to hire for this many drivers…ever.

“It’s become exacerbated from the pandemic,” — Robin Hansen, First Student

“So many of the senior folks retired because of COVID-19 or the variant. Nobody in the United States has ever seen it like this. So, it’s not just specific to First Student, it’s everywhere,” Hansen explained.

Several districts and transportation providers in Central New York are keeping their foot on the gas and working to have a full staff by the start of the school year.

Hiring incentives…

  • Starting pay: $21.36/hour
  • $3,000 sign-on bonus for fully credentialed drivers
  • $1,500 sign-on bonus for non-CDL holders
  • Paid CDL training with one year employment commitment
  • Additional hours available
  • No evenings or weekends

First Student currently has enough drivers to complete all 160 runs for the Syracuse City School District, but they’re hoping to hire more people in case someone gets sick or needs to take time off.

“I know that we have enough people to accommodate the runs. I’m looking to hire at least another 10 drivers just so everything runs smoothly,” Hansen explained.

Hansen said onboarding a new hire becomes a much lengthier process when school is in session.

“It’s very extensive from a child safety perspective,” Hansen said. “It’s going to take you at least until the end of October to put you on a bus and on the road to put you on a run.”

However, she says it’s more than just getting your kids to and from school safely.

Staying away from school, remote learning, and all of those factors have had a detrimental effect on the children of our area. We need to get them back in school so that they can feel comfortable, make them feel safe, learn and move on with things, as oppose to feeling stagnant.

Robin Hansen, CNY Regional Recruiter, First Student

If you’d like to learn more about job opportunities at First Student, click here.

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