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74 bus routes canceled in Anne Arundel County school bus driver strike

AACPS also battling bus driver shortage
Posted at 8:19 AM, Oct 05, 2021

GLEN BURNIE, Md. — A school bus strike had many students in Anne Arundel County looking for other ways to get to school besides taking the school bus Tuesday morning.

School bus drivers for the Annapolis Bus Company, one of the companies that contracts with the county school system, announced on Monday that they were going on strike.

Tuesday morning, the number of canceled bus routes jumped from five to nearly four dozen to at least 74 canceled bus routes.

Most of those routes had no morning or afternoon bus service.

Between a bus driver strike and an ongoing bus driver shortage, more and more routes were canceled Tuesday morning, leaving many kids wondering how they’re going to get to school.

Many students already were left stranded on Monday after dozens of bus routes were canceled.

Striking drivers with the Annapolis Bus Company are demanding better safety, better pay and better benefits.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman agreed with them.

On Tuesday afternoon Pittman attended the Anne Arundel County Board of Education meeting to urge the school system to put forth a proposal, but was denied the opportunity to speak.

"The next step is that AACPS must put a proposal on the table. That’s what will give drivers hope that conditions will improve, and inspire others to apply for those jobs," said Pittman. "That’s what I hoped to say at today’s Board of Education meeting. I felt that it was important for the board, the whole board, in open session to hear that my administration is committed to supporting a plan, but that we need one - now. My request to speak was denied. AACPS attorneys said it would need to be in closed session because it involves contracts. I said it needed to be public because the public is paying the price," the County Executive continued.

A day earlier, Pittman pointed out Anne Arundel County government does not manage the school bus driver contracts for the school system. However, he also said being a school bus driver is a job that needs and deserves a living wage and benefits.

Pittman recognized the pay scale is part of the reason for the bus driver shortage, and that the job doesn't attract enough applicants because it doesn't pay enough.

The county executive also said the county is putting together a plan to use federal pandemic relief funds given to the county or school system to help pay drivers more.

The dozens of canceled school bus routes affected elementary, middle, and high school students.

Neither the Anne Arundel County Public School System website nor its Twitter page mentioned how class schedules would be affected or handled during the strike.