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Baltimore City Public Schools in desperate need of school bus drivers

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Posted at 5:40 PM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 17:40:18-04

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Schools are preparing for the start of the new school year and they’re looking for some new bus drivers.

Due to the pandemic, there has been a nationwide shortage of bus drivers and Wednesday, Baltimore City Public Schools held a career fair trying to recruit people to fill those positions.

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The first day of school is less than three weeks away for city public schools, which is why organizers like Jacinta Hughes are looking for bus drivers before the semester starts.

“We are trying to recruit yellow bus drivers, bus aides, and a newly created position driver trainees. Last year we struggled with transporting our kids that were eligible for transportation because of the national drivers shortage. So we are still anywhere between 50 to 60 bus drivers shorts on a given day,” Hughes said.

21 drivers, 21 bus aides, and 10 driver trainee positions are what Baltimore City Schools are looking to fill.

Hughes, who’s the director of transportation for BCPSS, said the yellow buses are primarily designated for special need children, that’s part of why filling these positions ahead of school is so crucial.

“It is a dying industry and so one of our recommendations to the CEO to create additional drivers was to start the driver trainee position,” Hughes said.

Hughes said by adding the 10 driver trainee positions, employees will have a chance at upward mobility by being trained to be a driver and eventually taking the test to get their CDL license.

“So you need your CDL license with a passenger endorsement for school bus driving, and you need to be 21-years-old, and you need to have a clean driving record,” Hughes said.

Those are some of the requirements to be hired for the bus driver position. Hughes said due to the pandemic, the nationwide shortage affected almost everyone who rode the bus.

Last year, some kids were not making it to school on time or not getting home because there were no bus drivers to take them.

“That’s still like a big issue for example we just don’t have substitute drivers. If something happens in a driver's family and they can’t make it back, sometimes it’s hard to get then another driver to cover that route,” Hughes said.

Hughes said everyday there are anywhere between 285 to 300 bus drivers transporting Baltimore City students. Most of those drivers are contracted through companies that are also experiencing staffing issues, and to prevent these challenges from happening again for the upcoming school year, Hughes said they’re quickly looking to fill the needed positions.

“Last year we were successful in filling all of our driver vacancies but this year we’re trying to get additional drivers to do more in house capacity,” Hughes said.

For people who missed the career fair Wednesday you can still apply for a bus driver position by clicking here.