SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Saturday, Saratoga Springs City School District hosted their Test Drive a Bus Day due to the driver shortage. Gerry Freedman is one of the drivers and a trainer. He says the event is all about raising awareness.

“Nationwide, there is a shortage of school bus drivers, and we are definitely impacted by that,” he said. “And we are trying to reach out to the general public to get them behind the wheel of the bus.”

Jeff Wainwright is the Director of Transportation, and he says that these events are helpful to ease any fears that a possible applicant may have.

“We routinely have these events to have people test drive the school bus, in case they have any fears of being behind the school bus,” Wainwright said. “Also to show them how well equipped and how safe our school busses are for the children that we are carrying.”

This year, the school district has purchased seven new school buses. The buses are fully equipped with wifi, travel storage, and even a student attendance tracking device.

“The tablet provides turn path directions for our school bus drivers and routes, and our students have ID cards they use when they get on the bus,” he said.

Judy Kahn is the Transportation Safety Coordinator, and she says that all applicants can undergo a six-week training period to ensure that all prospective drivers are prepared. There is classroom training, behind-the-wheel training, and then driving with supervision.

“There is the practical side of riding all mg with trainers on an actual bus route,” Khan said. “So that you can see the practical side of things.” 

If anyone could not attend the event, the district is still accepting applications.