Shortage of school bus drivers

School has started, and many parents in the Saint Paul School District are dealing with the problem of how to get their kids to and from school due to a school bus driver shortage. The district has reported being short 50 bus drivers, which is affecting the following schools:

  • American Indian Magnet
  • Murray Middle School
  • Wellstone Elementary
  • L’Etoile du Nord Elementary
  • Capitol Hill Magnet School
  • Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion
  • Battle Creek Middle School
  • Central High School
  • Como Park Senior High
  • Harding Senior High
  • Washington Technology Magnet School

The district has said that the four high schools (Central, Harding, Como, and Washington) will be using Metro Transit this year. Students will be given a free bus pass, but Metro Transit reported that they will not be changing their times, nor their locations, and that if students want to get a bus ride, they will have to get one at their available stops. A bus typically comes every 15 minutes, or 30 minutes.

One of the issues students face with the Metro Transit pick up times, is that some have to take very early busses, as there is no option closer to the start of school (for example, one bus picks up at 8:25am, which does not give students time to get to school on time).

With the seven remaining schools (middle and elementary), to try to make this easier for some of the students, they will adjust their start times, and when school ends, to fit with the routes the school bus company is able to cover.

At a press conference, Superintendent Joe Gothard said that this has become a nationwide issue and he’s working with schools to reduce this problem.

Just in the state of Minnesota, Minneapolis Public Schools, are telling students’ families that they will pay them to drive their kids to school. In the Stillwater school district, KARE 11 has reported that the school district is suing their bus driver contractor for a breach of contract, due to them leaving 20 percent of their routes uncovered.

You may have noticed that Highland Park was not on this list, however, that is not to say students haven’t been affected by the shortage. Routes have had to be combined, due to a lack of drivers, and this has resulted in students being dropped off later. Even with the inconvenience, it is still better than taking Metro Transit.

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