Bus driver shortage causing delays for students

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – School Bus Inc. in Sioux Falls is down almost 20 bus drivers, leading to issues for the school district. The shortage is causing delays on bus routes, meaning students are being picked up or dropped off late.

The company has had to get innovative when it comes to getting students to and from school.

“And that has involved some of the drivers on our staff to maybe pick up an extra elementary run or an extra middle school run which then, unfortunately, makes those runs run a bit behind schedule,” Steven Hey, Vice President of Business Development, said.

Even office workers at School Bus Inc. are getting behind the wheel to cover some routes. The company has been working with the Sioux Falls School District to improve their communication plan.

“Whenever we have a route that is going to be running late, we give the school district and the school involved as much as advance notice as we possibly can so that school can put out messages to parents,” Hey said.

They’ve also been working to adjust the bus routes so they are more efficient.

“Some students will be there a little bit earlier and we’ll supervise those students at the school or maybe that there may be one day a week or one day every other week that a bus isn’t going to run, but at least they’ll know that in advance so that we can save those drivers and run them for other routes,” Jamie Nold, assistant superintendent with the Sioux Falls School District, said.

The best solution, though, is getting more drivers behind the wheel. That’s why School Bus Inc. has increased their starting wage to $19.50/hour. They are also offering a $4,00-dollar bonus to anyone who applies and already has a CDL license. Those who don’t have that license are offered a $3,00-dollar bonus and are trained on site.

“Driving a school bus is a great way to make a positive impact on the lives of children and it also is a way to serve your community,” Hey said.

The school district hopes to get more information out to parents next week on changes that might happen. They ask all families to make sure their information is up to date with the right phone numbers and emails on record at the schools.

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