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Bus Driver Shortage Still Mixed Bag Across UC

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Bus Driver Shortage Still Mixed Bag Across UC

Upper Cumberland school systems continue to work through issues with finding school bus drivers and substitute drivers.

DeKalb County Transportation Manager Billy Rhody said he said they have routes covered, but do not have enough substitutes. He said when a driver is out, they have to make changes and double up routes in order to cover all pickups and drop-offs.

“It’s always been a little difficult maintaining sub drivers, and it’s not been too bad keeping route drivers,” Rhody said. “But in the last, say, five years or so, I bet the turnover has been much greater than it used to be.”

Rhody said he has been a bus driver since 1985. He said that the nationwide shortages in drivers have been trending for some time, but it is only in recent years that school systems are seeing and feeling the impact. Rhody said he believes it is a combination of changing bus drivers’ licensure, pay rates, and benefits.

Putnam County Transportation Supervisor Ron Chaffin said that currently all Putnam County district routes are covered. He said as far as substitutes, they have enough to cover routes when needed.

“It’s starting to improve but we still need to add more in order to get more coverage,” Chaffin said. “We have been doing things to try and lower the populations on each of our buses.”

Chaffin said that just because they have full coverage does not mean they aren’t looking for drivers. Chaffin said with the recent growth in the county causing some buses to have more congestion, they hope to add more routes in the near future.


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