ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – A spokesperson from Governor Hochul’s Office has issued an official response to Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente’s request for assistance with the on-going transportation crisis that the being experienced across New York State.

“Governor Hochul’s top priority is keeping children in school. Our office is working with the district and stakeholders to get an assessment of the situation and to help facilitate solutions.” – Governor Hochul’s Spokesperson

The Governor’s Office has put together a plan that includes multiple agencies and directly addresses the shortage of bus drivers in the state. The DMV and DOL have reached out to around 550,000 commercial driver’s license holders, including those unemployed and have asked for their assistance with filling vacant positions.

So far:

  • 5,138 individuals have responded to the survey expressed interest statewide. 
  • State has shared names and contact info of the above with BOCES and school districts so they can start calling interested / eligible CDL holders.  
  • There are 427 CDL eligible CDL holders in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley.

The State has also eliminated the 14-day waiting period for school bus certification and has opened several new bus drivers testing sites with SUNY, NY Racing Association, and the Office of General Services. Along with these changes any school staff who may currently have a CDL will soon be able to make an appointment for a driving test that, if passed, will allow them to temporarily drive vans and buses.

Additionally, NYS has partnered up with law enforcement agencies, firefighters, military organizations, and other outlets to help school districts with recruiting and providing additional options during these times.

  • School districts can contract with private charter bus services using federal funding to expand coverage.  
  • School districts can collaborate with local transportation authorities.