DETROIT – The shortage of bus drivers is a problem facing school districts across the country.
Over the weekend more Michigan districts announcing they would be suspending some bus routes for kids until they can find drivers.
Districts are working to hire people and not enough are applying.
In districts such as Melvindale, Allen Park, Northville and Grosse Ile some bus services have been suspended ahead of the first day of class amid a shortage of bus drivers.
In a letter to parents at Plymouth-Canton schools Durham Transportation which operates buses in several Metro Detroit districts asked likely frustrated parents for patience writing, “We are doing everything we can to recruit, hire, and retain quality bus drivers...please be kind and show appreciation for Durham’s existing bus drivers. Bus drivers are not at fault for the nationwide driver shortage.”
Durham Transportation is also offering signing bonuses up to $2,000 for those with commercial licenses and referral bonuses worth $1,000 hoping to attract new hires, but low wages and part-time hours are still major hurdles the executive director of Michigan’s Association of Pupil Transportation told Local 4 News last week.
“It’s a rough time because it’s not a full-time job. It’s a few hours in the morning, a few hours in the afternoon, potentially a field trip here or there. Maybe a noon run, but you can’t support a family on bus driving,” said Dave Meeuwsen of the Michigan Association of Pupil Transportation.
A shortage of drivers fueling more uncertainty just days before school is back in session.
It’s not just bus drivers. Schools are also looking at a substitute teacher shortages and the state’s nursing shortage has also put a strain on districts.
Read more: Education headlines from across Michigan