Houston-area school districts are short on bus drivers, leading to overcrowding and sometimes hourslong delays for families.
“Many of our drivers are covering double routes,” Lamar CISD in Fort Bend County said in a statement. “Some of our elementary buses may also temporarily have three students to a seat.”
LCISD is currently short 50 bus drivers. The district has asked all certified employees to help fill the gaps, including mechanics and dispatchers.
“Starting pay for bus drivers is $19.39 an hour. Lamar CISD also offers in-house, paid CDL training, and medical and dental benefits,” the district statement continued. “Individuals interested…can apply at www.lcisd.org.”
Bus driver shortages have been reported from Houston to Alvin to Humble and Conroe, where one parent sent KPRC2 a photo of an overcrowded bus with students sitting on the floor.
Other states have also reported bus driver shortages, including in Montana, where one school district is offering $4,000 signing bonuses for new drivers.
“We’re short on people and it’s going to happen,” said one LCISD parent. “We have to be patient.”
“Oh, it’s been terrible since Monday (the first day of school),” another LCISD parent said. “I hope they figure this out soon because it’s been crazy.”
Another parent at Frost Elementary said the buses took so long, he decided to do pick up instead, only to wait another hour or so.
Lamar CISD said at the end of last school year, 11,000 or so of its approximately 45,000 students rode the bus. By the first day of school on Monday, about 13,000 had signed up. By Wednesday, 15,000 or so wanted to ride.
“The district recognizes there have been some transportation and traffic challenges,” Lamar CISD also said in its statement. “We’re committed to getting all of our students to and from school safely each day.”