Students Get Back on the Bus

Since 2020, when COVID hit the United States, bus drivers have been harder and harder to come by. Due to the lack of drivers, buses have been more crowded and have had longer routes.

Dan Schultz, the Director of Transportation for the Southeast Polk School District, provides some insight on why the bus driver shortage is happening.

“[The] bus driver shortage is a national issue and it is multifaceted,” Schultz said.

The process of becoming a certified bus driver means receiving a CDL (commercial drivers license). A commercial drivers license is required for bus drivers. Getting this can be a long process.

“We have to meet all driving requirements as any CDL holder, plus extra training and tests for school bus and passenger endorsements,” Schultz said. “In total it takes up to 6-8 months to get a person a CDL for a school bus currently.”

Another issue that is discouraging possible drivers is the bus atmosphere. Schultz said that dealing with 60 students while driving down the road is very stressful and challenging, on top of the regular challenges that driving a bus has. 

Sophomore Sophia Rollins describes the environment on her bus.

“It’s pretty chill, a lot of the sixth graders that sit in the back are rude, but most of the people are nice,” she said.

Being well-behaved on the bus is important to help bus drivers be more at ease on the road. Schultz recommends that while riding the bus you do a few things to help ease the process.

First, students that are not going to ride the bus should have their parent or guardian call and remove the student from the transportation list. This way we can have room for students who do ride.

Number two, students should thank their drivers and promote others to join our driving team by being welcoming to support staff.