Right now, school bus drivers are in high demand and low supply across Metro Detroit.
The bus driver shortage has placed many districts in a difficult position, forcing them to cancel bus routes and/or readjust their pick-up and drop-off schedules.
More: Some Metro Detroit school districts forced to cut bus routes amid shortage of drivers
Tons of districts are hiring, but not many are seeing applications. One local school district thinks that people may be afraid to apply because they are intimidated by driving such a large vehicle.
Local 4′s Nick Monacelli teamed up with Utica Community Schools (UCS) to test drive one of their buses -- and he found that it wasn’t too difficult.
Brian Laporte, head of transportation for UCS, says the trick with driving a school bus is thinking about and becoming familiar with the size of the vehicle, and how to utilize all of the mirrors. Otherwise, the bus operates much like regular cars do, Laporte says.
See the test drive in the video report above.
After driving around a parking lot in the school bus, Monacelli says the task wasn’t as daunting as he thought -- but that’s the primary problem Laporte says UCS is facing: People don’t think they’re capable of driving a bus.
And that’s why the school district is hosting a “conquer the bus” challenge, in which anyone can come take a school bus for a spin and feel how it actually drives.
UCS’ drive a bus event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20 in the area of their auxiliary services facility in Sterling Heights (6600 18 Mile Road). For those interested in applying for a bus driver role, the pay starts at $21 an hour, health benefits are available and training is provided.
You can learn more about available positions with UCS on their website here.
Related: Labor shortage: Why it’s happening and what can be done