Hoover, other school systems dealing with bus driver shortage

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 8:54 PM CDT
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HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) - Parents and school bus drivers are speaking out about a shortage of drivers. This is a problem not only in Alabama, but around the country as well.

Hoover is short of drivers and this is impacting pickup times for students trying to get to school.

Hoover and other school districts are beefing up benefits and salaries. Hoover’s school system is offering about $25 an hour. The school system is down eight drivers. That means eight buses carrying a lot of students is having to wait for drivers to get to them and then on to school. Hoover has 22 bus routes without the regular drivers.

Being short of bus drivers is not new for Hoover schools. Dave Cochran complained about it back 2018.

“Our daughter got stranded at school and nobody communicated with us there wasn’t a bus driver to pick them up,” said Cochran.

Cochran’s daughter still rides the bus, but she has not had any problems with pickups and drop-offs since then. A Hoover schools shop foreman said it’s still a problem.

“If a driver can’t come in and somebody else has to come in and double it, it takes a little bit more time. The kids may get to school 20-30 minutes late,” Jerry Harper said.

Harper said the shortage was a problem before the pandemic, but COVID is contributing to the shortage now. Drivers are doing double routes which means they take one group of students to one school and then turn around get new students to take to another school.

“We have had some parents complaining because some parents are out there waiting with their kids waiting for them to get picked up and they are trying to get to work,” Harper said.

Hoover Superintendent Dee Fowler has sent out emails to parents to be patient as they address the lack of bus drivers. Cochran says they understand the situation, and parents appreciate the constant communication on the matter.

“The cliché we are all in this together. We are all in this together. There is nothing we can do as an individual to change things. Let’s make the best of it. To me, it’s communication, communication, communication,” Cochran said.

The school system is using other school personnel trying to fill the bus routes as best they can.

If you are interested in a Hoover school bus job, you can check out the school system’s website by clicking here.

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