LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A shortage of bus drivers was one of the biggest concerns parents had as Jefferson County Public Schools returned to the classroom this week.
This year about 70 bus routes in JCPS were not covered by a driver. To make sure every student can be picked up, some drivers had to go back and take a second pick-up route.
To try and combat the bus driver shortage, JCPS hosted a 'bus driver blitz' hiring event earlier this year. While more than 100 candidates turned out at the event, JCPS still needs more bus drivers as the school year begins.
Over 60,000 students were picked up by buses on the first day Wednesday and most students were dropped off at home by 6:30 p.m., but because of delays, some students were not dropped off until just before 7:30 p.m.
JCPS introduced a bus route delay dashboard which shows some routes could see delays of over an hour.
Despite delays, JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said day one was a success, all thanks to the hard-working people behind the wheel.
“Being a teacher is hard enough as it is, every day in front of students, making sure you meet their needs each and every day, social-emotional needs, academic needs. But then on top of that to be a bus driver, to and from school, it’s just pitching in. It’s amazing, it really is,” he said.
Pollio said bus driver pay, at $21.69 an hour, is higher than it has ever been. And he encourages anyone interested in driving to apply.