Florida school district discusses paying parents or Uber to transport students during driver shortage
OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) – There is an urgent need for school bus drivers in Osceola County.
The department has 36 job offers. On Friday, 36 more called in sick, meaning 72 of their 243 bus routes had to be compensated.
Deputy Director of Transportation Randy Wheeler said around 26,000 students take the bus to and from school. To make sure they all get there, they have to juggle staff.
“So we actually have the buses that are on the road, the drivers coming in to work can do two trips for a particular school instead of just one or they can double up and pick up a lot more students than planned for their route, said Wheeler.
Wheeler said children are stuck at bus stops longer than normal, causing them to be late for school and parents to be late for work.
At this point, he said, they will consider all options, including a potential partnership with public transport, the use of Uber or paying parents.
“There have been discussions about paying parents to transport their children,” Wheeler said, adding that “it’s all up for discussion at the moment.”
Wheeler said he doesn’t see the shortage going away anytime soon, but hopes a job fair scheduled for Jan. 25 can help.