Why Are Schools Having a Hard Time Transporting Kids?



Multiple buses have been extremely late and/or not picking up students this school year due to bus driver shortages.

During the pandemic, our lives all got put on hold. 

  Everything we considered normal was shut down and not accessible to the public. Kids were no longer allowed at school, and adults were unable to go into work. 

  Technology took a larger role as everything went virtual. Kids were attending school in their living rooms on a laptop, and their parents were at work upstairs. Soon enough this became the new normal and life had completely changed. 

  With school virtual, bus drivers were no longer needed. But now that school is back in-person, there’s a higher demand for them, and they’re not coming back. 

  Many were scared to catch the virus in a very enclosed space. Others were concerned about the mask mandate. When bussing to an elementary school, how will you make sure that the young grades keep their masks on? Some drivers also quit simply because they would rather stay home than drive a bunch of rowdy children. 

  In the beginning of this school year, Philadelphia had such a limited number of drivers that a bus company stopped picking up kids. Parents had to transport their kids to school. 

  Another school district in Philly is offering to pay parents $300.00 a month to take their children to and from school. Parents who only take their kids to school and have them use township provided busses in the afternoon will get $150.00 a month for their contributions. 

  Across the nation, nearly 80 percent of different school districts have reported that they don’t have enough bus drivers. A school in Philadelphia even reported that they are now starting to ask the government for help. 

  Many schools reported that on the second day of their school year, a good percent of the students were either late and got tardied or just did not show up at all. 

  During my first few months at Eastern, I’ve had a few different friends come into school late and tell me that their bus forgot to get them this morning or that it just didn’t come at all. Even my little brother who started his first year at Voorhees Middle School, was “forgotten” on his first day. The bus didn’t come to his bus stop, so he ended up being late on his first day. 

  My experience with transportation at Eastern has been different. My bus comes at roughly 6:45 a.m every morning, and, if I’m being honest, I have only taken the bus two times this year. 

  The first time I took the bus on the first day of school I was so nervous. I walked onto the bus with my backpack and my soccer bag and as soon as I stepped into the aisle, I couldn’t find any available seats. 

  Not only was I internally freaking out, but the bus driver started to drive while I was still standing up trying to find an open seat, making me even more stressed out. Finally, I plopped down in the first seat I could find which already had another boy sitting there. 

  Now, I look back and regret not asking if I could simply share a seat with the guy, but I was already freaked out enough and couldn’t risk the idea of him saying no. 

 Recently, I have been reflecting on the things that we had before COVID. The simple has now become complicated, and I think that we all take things for granted. 

  Although the shortage of drivers is affecting the way we get to and from school, it is understandable why some of the drivers don’t feel comfortable. In the end, all we can do is hope that the solution will get resolved and kids will be able to get to school on time, and be able to sit comfortably on their busses.