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Anticipating driver shortage, JCPS launches Bus Delay Dashboard

District officials said the Bus Delay Dashboard is updated weekly, reflecting anticipated delays in pickup times and affected routes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools, and other Kentucky districts, face ongoing bus driver shortages. To help, JCPS launched a new delay dashboard to predict how late routes will run.

The dashboard allows them to update parents and students weekly on which routes are behind schedule due to double and even triple runs. 

Tuesday, anticipated delays ran from 15 minutes, for Newburg Middle, Cochran and Heuser, to 95 minutes, for the Teenage Parent Program. 

Parents can check the dashboard after 2 p.m. every Saturday for the week ahead. 

If a route is on a 30-minute delay and a student's pickup time is 6:00 a.m., they can expect to be picked up at 6:30 a.m.

“Unfortunately students will be late, we’ve communicated with the schools so principals are aware and most of them have already notified the families," Executive Administrator of Transportation Marcus Dobbs said. 

Dobbs said a 30-minute pickup delay doesn't mean students will be 30 minutes late to school. Arrival times depend on the length of bus routes. 

Tuesday, JCPS reported about 50 uncovered routes, down from 70 last reported. Dobbs said his team reduces inefficiencies and condenses routes. 

Dobbs said JCPS also needs significantly more bus drivers. He said 50 applicants had been approved for employment and another 40 were in the application process. 

“We’d love to get rid of it," Dobbs said of the dashboard. "Unfortunately the process to hire a new driver is lengthy, it takes a while.”

Dobbs said the district is also competing for driver candidates with companies like UPS, FedEx and TARC. 

Elisa Hanley, the pupil transportation branch manager for the Kentucky Department of Education, said training and certification for a Commonwealth school bus driver is more complicated than for a traditional CDL. 

“There are so many laws and regulations for school bus drivers that regular CDL drivers aren’t required to follow," she said. "Safety is our main priority so they train until they are ready.”

Hanley said drivers have to learn the rules of the road, how to use school bus signs and signals, monitoring of crosswalks and student management. 

She said helping students is the reason Kentuckians should consider applying.

"The drivers come from within their communities. Without communities stepping up, routes have to be cut, students have longer rides and sometimes students aren’t provided transportation," she said.


Dobbs said the job is rewarding because of the impact made on students in JCPS. 

"If you love students this is the job for you," he said. "Transportation are the first people to see our students on a given day, we have an opportunity to make an impact on our students' lives.” 

JCPS officials recommend driving your student to school if you can. 

To find your child's regular bus route and nearest bus stop, you can use the district's interactive Bus Finder web page.

If you have questions during the first week, parents can call 485-RIDE for information or to troubleshoot issues. 

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