At the start of each school year there are bound to be some changes to bus routes, but over the past couple of years, school distracts have been juggling routes more often than they’d wish too. And while the issue of a driver shortage is one districts are facing on a national scale, the shortage’s affect in rural areas feels much larger. Especially when considering the burden that it puts on parents and families to get students to school.
Lamers Buses says the on-boarding process for their drivers can take between six to eight weeks. After a background check and drug tests are completed, the Commercial Drivers License (CDL) training can take about four weeks to complete. Than another two weeks for building their new employee profile. Compensation for drivers is also considered competitive with the area’s job market, starting at just above 16 dollars an hour, after completing training and starting on routes. Level five bus drivers can make around 20 dollars an hour. The company says they currently have a few candidates working through that process right now. And hope to have them start in the near future.
For some schools, solutions for the problem requires wearing multiple hats. Recently Bridge MI, published an article also addressing busing, and referenced a school district in the eastern Upper Peninsula, where their superintendent is also driving bus routes. Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw (CLK) Schools Superintendent Christopher Davidson, says that while they have not had to go that far, a coach at the school has earned their CDL license, in case a shortage requires the coach to transport the team. CLK Schools covers a considerable amount of land when planning out their routes, from Eagle Harbor to the south of Houghton County, nearly 400 square miles. The district also works with Grant Township to transport students in the northern areas of the peninsula to school.
In recent weeks, school districts all over the Copper Country have had to make changes to bus routes for various reasons, most notably due to a lack of qualified drivers. Lamers Buses say that for just the districts north of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge they still need seven bus drivers, and a similar number is needed south of the bridge for the other districts. Local superintendents say that they are continuing to work on developing solutions for the driver shortage.
Lamers buses hires bus drivers for many of the area’s local school districts. For those interested in learning more about Lamers hiring process for bus drivers, or wish to apply find a link to their careers page below.