Lincoln, Neb. — School districts throughout the U.S. are struggling to find school bus drivers, a challenge that has worsened with low unemployment and a strong economy.
The problem has become so severe that some districts are offering sign-up bonuses for new drivers, while others rely on mechanics, custodians and other school employees to fill the gap. For parents and students, the shortage can mean longer waits for a ride to school and more crowded buses.
The shortage stems from a variety of factors, including limited hours to work and high barriers to entry. Drivers generally need a commercial driver’s license, which requires training, sometimes without pay.