How OSD is Handling the Shortage of Bus Drivers


[email protected]

School buses rest in line at the North Thurston Public Schools service center as the district works to fill needed driver positions.

Rebecca Smith

It’s no secret that the pandemic has caused a lot of problems and changes to our day-to-day lives. Lifestyle changes, costs, and one of the biggest ones, employment. We’ve seen a huge drop in the number of bus drivers we have, and it’s not just our district that’s affected, it’s districts across the nation. From Washington to South Carolina, thousands of districts are facing shortages of drivers, so how’s our district holding up during these times?

In an interview with Rhonda Morton, OSD’s director of transportation, she said that the shortage was greater than expected for the 2021-2022 school year. Due to this, they have had to make some changes. I asked how the shortage has impacted hiring,” It impacted us to pay drivers for their time in training,” a change many districts have been implementing. On top of paid training, one district in Scappoose Oregon is offering $2,000-$3,000 sign-on bonuses to incentivize people to apply. 

In response to phone calls from parents and guardians,” most parents have been very understanding. I manage those calls by listening to their concerns and letting them know that we are doing everything possible to get the kids to and from school with the recourses we have.”-Rhonda Morton. 

Rhonda also states,” I feel that we are living in very stressful times. I can feel it with my employees as well. I also feel that many of our parents and guardians feel the stress as well. And most definitely my colleagues do. I would like to give a shout-out to all of my employees here at transportation as they have worked through some unprecedented times with great attitudes.”

Our drivers are going through some stressful times, so when you get on your bus in the morning or after school, make sure to thank your bus driver, and show them some appreciation.