PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Every school district in Hampton Roads could use at least a few more good bus drivers this school year.
There are more than 100 openings for drivers in the 757. Some districts are getting creative to get kids to class and recruit new drivers.
“We’ve always had a challenge getting enough drivers to do the job its a unique position,” Virginia Beach Schools Executive Director of Transportation, David Pace, told 10 On Your Side.
Between split shifts and sometimes splitting headaches, it takes a special person to drive a bus.
Pace admits finding enough drivers proves to be a tough task. “Every year we go trough this same process,” he said.
10 On Your Side reached out to all local school districts to ask if they are fully staffed or how many drivers are still needed for the 2019-2020 school year.
Chesapeake needs to fill 33 positions, Virginia Beach 25, Portsmouth 14, Suffolk 6 and Williamsburg 4.
Virginia Beach has 630 buses on the road every day, and Pace said at least a couple dozen drivers are out for one reason or another — so they also need to hire substitute drivers.
Despite the shortage, Pace assures he will do what it takes to make sure gets get safely to and from school.
“We enlist anybody in my operation that has commercial driver’s license that’s certified to drive school buses, so we’ll have office associates and supervisors and technicians in the garage covering those runs,” Pace said.
Virginia Beach is also changing policy so that district retirees can come on board and drive and it won’t interfere with their retirement.
The Beach district also encourages mothers to dive by allowing kids one year and older to ride along.
Chesapeake Public Schools is offering signing bonuses for new bus driver candidates.
Full-time drivers in Hampton Roads start at around $14 per hour and get benefits. Those interested can apply online to individual school districts.