NEW YORK, (WETM) – Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a multi-agency plan to address the school bus driver shortage affecting schools across the state.
The plan includes short-term steps to remove barriers and recruit traditional and non-traditional Commercial Driver’s License holders, expand CDL testing opportunities, and enhance processes all designed to get more drivers into school buses.
Additionally, New York State is launching outreach to more than 550,000 CDL license holders in New York State.
“Our schools and public health officials have moved mountains to ensure our children receive an in-person education this year, and we are leaving no stone unturned to make sure schools have adequate bus service to bring students to school and back,” Governor Hochul said.
She directed state agencies to utilize a multi-organizational recruitment effort to persuade CDL drivers to become school bus drivers. Interested drivers will be surveyed and their information then shared with local school districts that are seeking drivers.
“While the shortage of school bus drivers is not unique to New York State, I have directed state agencies to utilize creative approaches and use every tool at their disposal to help districts affected by the bus driver shortage, so we can bring in as many qualified bus drivers as possible as quickly as possible,” Hochul said.
The state will also work with partners in law enforcement, firefighters, military, and other organizations that have trained drivers in order to find more individuals interested in becoming school bus drivers.
Additionally, DMV is enhancing and expediting the process for CDL completion by removing the 14-day waiting period between the permit test and the road tests. Through enhanced cooperation with county-run DMVs, the state will also help to increase capacity to administer written exams and road tests.
The State encourages schools to pursue creative and innovative ways to offer a wide array of benefits for school bus drivers that were previously not considered. This includes signing and retention bonuses, expansion of benefits to the drivers, and other options to recruit drivers in a nationally competitive market.
Those who are interested in obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License can find information here.