PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — We’re weeks into the school year, and bus companies are still struggling to find enough bus drivers.
The lack of drivers is leading to some parents getting last-minute calls that their child’s bus won’t be there that day.
Pittsburgh Public Schools’ transportation chief Meghan Patton says route scrambling is getting most kids to school.
Of the 17,000 students in the district, Patton says the seat gap has been reduced to around approximately 200.
“If anybody calls off for the day, we’re in a situation where we’re, you know, scrambling to find out how to cover a particular run. So right now, we need people,” said Todd O’Shell, Vice President of ABC Transit.
O’Shell says that “the schedule is the schedule until it’s not anymore” and says that sometimes things need to run a little later.
When running late turns into not running at all, that’s when parents get the call.
“Once we’re notified, we send robocalls to the families. Our bus companies contact the schools and they contact families as well. So we’re just trying to provide as much information up front as we can to families,” Patton said.
Patton estimates the canceled route may happen no more than five times per week across the seven companies that provide Pittsburgh Public with transportation. All the companies need drivers, with many or most offering bonuses.
“The money is not drawing in the folks that we thought maybe it would,” O’Shell said.
The bus companies say even if you can only drive in the afternoons, reach out to them and they’ll work with you.