Patience is key: Duval County bus drivers double up on routes due to shortage

Transportation is top question when it comes to back-to-school, Dr. Greene said

With the first day of school less than two weeks away -- the Duval County school district is working with its contractors to address a bus driver shortage.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first day of school in Duval County was Monday and the Duval County school district is still working with its contractors to address a bus driver shortage.

Patience will be key this week. The bus driver shortage means some drivers will have to double up on routes -- leading to longer wait times. Parents are encouraged to make sure their kids get to the bus stops as early as possible.

The district says STA and its other contractor – Durham School Services – need to hire dozens of new drivers. The district said it needs to hire as many as 50 new bus drivers to get kids to and from school, plus a pool of backups for when drivers are out.

Jacksonville contractors are offering sign-on bonuses and hiring more part-time drivers. One of the companies is also working to reduce the time it takes to get kids to and from school.

Pete Conway, Jacksonville area General Manager at STA, spoke with News4JAX ahead of the first day of school for Duval County.

The companies that are contracted with the district are working to expand their prospects. That now includes having trained drivers – without commercial licenses - provide van service for Exceptional Student Education (ESE) and remote students.

Related: Got a problem with your student’s bus? Here’s who to call | Inside look at STA bus dispatch center ahead of Duval County’s first day of school

Contractors will also start using part-time drivers to give full-time drivers more availability. Sign-on bonuses are being offered too.

The first day of school in Duval County was Monday, and the Duval County school district is still working with its contractors to address a bus driver shortage.

STA and Durham have also implemented incentive programs to get more applicants. That includes offering current employees referral bonuses for successfully recruiting new employees. They’re also giving recognition gifts for good attendance and accident-free records. Plus workplace improvements and team events.

Current driver numbers: (Shortage numbers vary; STA Jacksonville has said it’s looking to hire around 100 alone)

  • Buses: 735
  • Bus drivers: Student Transportation of America – 488 | Durham – 174

Parents with questions about buses can call the district’s transportation call center at 904-858-6200.

Click here to become part of the “Duval Driving Team” and for more information.

Duval County Transportation Hotline

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.