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