LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Bus companies continue to see a shortage in drivers. In Lancaster County, better pay and bonuses have found some new drivers. But as the school year approaches, the numbers still fall short.
“Before COVID it was difficult. We’re a part-time position. It’s a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours in the afternoon. It’s driving a giant school bus down the road with sometimes 77 students on so it has been a challenge,” said Dan Fiorilli, general area manager at Student Transportation of America.
Student Transportation of America serves about 7,500 students at the Hempfield School District. They say it appears they’ll have just enough drivers to start the year, and want to hire an additional eleven.
“People that don’t have their CDL’s come in. We’ll train them how to do it. We’ve increased salary greatly. We’re up to $25 an hour. We have a $2,000 sign-on bonus,” Fiorilli said.
If it comes down to it, the office staff will get behind the wheel.
“We use our office staff to drive. At times we get our mechanics to drive but it is extremely difficult to manage in the environment when we’re so tight on drivers,” Fiorilli said.
Fiorilli says they are starting to get more applicants and getting them trained as quickly as they can.
“Everyday you’re out on the road is different. you never know what you’re going to run into. we try to train the drivers here for preventative situations,” said Jay Schock, bus driver and trainer at Student Transportation of America.
For Jay Schock, this job is about more than being a bus driver.
“If you love being around kids. I love being around kids. I’m really hoping to make a difference in somebody’s life,” Schock said.