Florida school district discusses paying parents or Uber to transport students during driver shortage

Florida

(File/Getty)

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) – There is a dire need for school bus drivers in Osceola County.

The district has 36 job openings. On Friday, an additional 36 called out sick which means 72 of their 243 bus routes had to be compensated for.

Transportation Assistant Director Randy Wheeler said about 26,000 students take the bus to and from school. To make sure they all get there, they have to juggle staff around.

“So we actually have the buses that are on the road, the drivers that come to work may be doing two trips for a particular school instead of only one or they may be doubling up and picking up far more students than planned for their route,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said kids are stuck at bus stops longer than normal, causing them to be late to school and causing parents to be late to work.

At this point, he said, they’ll consider any solutions, including a potential partnership with public transportation, using Uber or paying parents.

“There has been some discussion of the possibility of paying parents to transport their kids,” Wheeler said, adding that “it’s all discussion at this time.”

Wheeler said he doesn’t see the shortage going away any time soon, but is hoping a job fair planned for Jan. 25 can help.

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