DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — While schools are getting back into the swing of things with having students back in the classroom, bus drivers are becoming a scarce necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nationwide there’s a shortage of bus drivers, not only in the Wiregrass area but throughout the state as well,” Director of Transportation Services Jay Bruner said.
Even before the pandemic, being a bus driver was not an overly wanted job. School districts around the state have felt the pull of fewer bus drivers, especially now due to a global pandemic.
“COVID has made it more difficult to recruit employees,” Bruner said. “However, it’s a great opportunity for a lot of people we start out at $18.77 an hour.”
Although bus drivers do not work 40 hours a week like most jobs, they do receive as many benefits as any other full time employee.
The largest reason behind the loss of workers at this time is due to the average age of bus drivers.
“Even before the pandemic, Dothan City Schools was in need of bus drivers, but even right now we need to make sure we continue to fill those roles,” Dothan City Schools Public Information Officer Meagan Dorsey said. “You know, our bus drivers are generally in our retirement age, and that was a risk factor with COVID-19.”
For now, Dothan City Schools are pushing through while trying to maintain some sort of normalcy.
“It’s been one of those things,” Bruner said. “It’s been a challenge however the team has done really a great job overall when it comes to what we’re facing.”