SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — The shortage of bus drivers continues to be a problem. Right now, the state has 42,000 bus drivers, the lowest number in the past five years.
On Saturday, Oct. 23, one Midstate bus company got interested drivers behind the wheel, hoping to fill open positions.
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As abc27 reported earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sent out a letter to about 376,000 CDL drivers encouraging them to apply to be bus drivers.
At Cumberland Valley School District, Rohrer Bus held an event allowing people to test drive a bus themselves.
“I’ve got a Class B CDL with air brakes. I drove a bus for CAT in Harrisburg for a little bit, the little one,” Robert Mentzer said.
He’s had experience driving big vehicles, but this is the first time Mentzer got behind the wheel of a school bus.
He’s answering the call for bus drivers desperately needed in the Midstate.
“I enjoy being around kids. I was a wrestling coach when I was younger. My boys wrestle and I think it’d be a lot of enjoyment doing it, driving the bus,” Mentzer said.
It does take time to become a driver, usually five or six weeks with Rohrer.
“Rohrer is going to run you through the training program which is 20 hours of in-class. That’s Monday to Thursday and then on a Friday morning and then the following Monday morning they have tutoring classes,” the Rohrer Bus instructor said.
Most people who showed up to Saturday’s test drive event had their commercial driver’s licenses, but some certifications are still needed.
“We also still need to get them their passenger and their school bus so it does cut some time off the process. It also means they’re more comfortable driving a big vehicle,” said Kristen McGaffin, manager of personnel and recruiting for Rohrer Bus.
The potential employees say it’s an easy drive and bus companies across Pennsylvania hope a new push for drivers lessens the stress on their workforce.
If you’re interested in becoming a driver with Rohrer, click here.
The Pennsylvania School Bus Association also has more information about becoming a school bus driver on YouBehindTheWheel.com