Tuscaloosa City Schools bus driver shortage worsened by COVID-19

Tuscaloosa school bus driver shortage

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuesday, Tuscaloosa City Schools alerted parents they may want to drive their kids to school for the next few days because of a shortage of bus drivers.

Wednesday, a school system spokesperson explained how the situation happened and what they’re trying to do to hire more drivers.

“There are 23 vacancies in the Transportation Department with a just a few absences related to sickness, some related to quarantine that did create that issue that we had yesterday,” according to Lesley Bruinton, a spokesperson for Tuscaloosa City Schools.

The absences impacted 19 buses out of the entire fleet on the road Wednesday for Tuscaloosa City Schools.

Bruiton said students riding those buses arrived at school on time. Still, the school system realized because of the changes some parents may be more comfortable taking their child to school and back under the circumstances.

“Parents are encouraged to take their children to school for the remainder of this week if they can. We hope to have most of our employees back to work once we return from Thanksgiving break,” according to a post on the school system’s Facebook page.

Bruinton explained what they’re doing to transport students despite having fewer bus drivers right now.

“What we did was collapse some bus routes, have some drivers run second or third routes to make sure we can get everyone here on time.”

Tuscaloosa City Schools is offering several incentives including a $500 bonus for people who are hired to become bus drivers.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.