School districts deal with perennial shortage of bus drivers
RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Will your kids catch the bus? It may depend on your district, and if there are enough people to drive them.
For many years, Vermont has had a shortage of school bus drivers, and this year is certainly no exception. “We are always looking for good, qualified bus drivers,” said Rich Vigue, the transportation coordinator for the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union.
His district still has two open positions less than a week before school begins. “We are willing to pay for all licensing fees, train you, and pay you as you go,” Vigue said.
But being a bus driver is part-time, driving a few hours in the morning and again in the afternoon, which supervisory union officials say makes it difficult to find drivers.
“I’m not surprised, because within the last few years the demands on drivers and CDL holders have become great, and unfortunately driving buses, if you don’t have something to go with it, it’s a hard sell,” said Mike Lee, who has been an RNESU bus driver for 15 years.
His co-worker, Varginia Fraiser, is going into her 38th year as a driver. “My kids were growing up and I needed something to do, and a job became available and I decided to try it out,” Fraiser said.
But the shortage is not limited to the RNESU. COVID has deterred many would-be drivers. “There’s always a shortage of drivers,” said Diane Barrows, a Milton School District. bus driver. “They train you right from the start. I had no qualifications and was trained totally.”
Back in Rutland, Brian Blair is starting his fifth year as a driver and has one piece of advice -- you have to be a people person. “I love it. I mean, I greet every single one of my students, as all of our bus drivers do. We greet them first thing in the morning every day and we say goodnight to them each and every day,” he said.
Those interested in driver positions can check the following listings:
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