Districts getting creative when it comes to finding school bus drivers

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– School Bus drivers are in short supply in the Capital Region. Districts are now getting creative, trying to find ways to solve this problem.

In the Greater Amsterdam School District, some students haven’t been getting home until nearly 2 hours after school has ended. The superintendent has been in talks with CDTA, to potentially help provide transportation.

“Our service would be in addition to yellow school bus service,” said Carm Basile, CDTA Chief Executive Officer. “So I think the thought process in Amsterdam is we’re short now, bring CDTA in, get us to full compliment, and reduce those wait times that have become problematic for the district and for the students.”

If this were to go into effect, elementary kids would still ride the yellow school busses, while older students could take the CDTA busses.

“Those students would have access to our service, to do a lot of other things that might be difficult right now— part time jobs after school, getting to the library, getting to sporting events, things like that. Their ID Card would be live on our busses all the time,” said Basile.

Members of the community would be able to ride the CDTA busses as well. This is already taking place in Albany, Troy, and Schenectady.

While a school bus driver shortage isn’t anything new, COVID has significantly increased the problem.

“For us here at Shen, it’s a severe issue,” said Alfred Karam, Shenendehoa Director of Transportation.

The Capital Area chapter of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation has organized a test drive the bus event to get more drivers for local school districts.

“We try to do that every 2-3 months, where we invite who is ever interested to come in and get behind a steering wheel, under supervision and drive to get over the fear. Actually driving is the easiest thing you can do in this job,” explained Karam.

The event will be held on October 14th from 10:00-12:00 at the Shenendehoa Central School District.

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