KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — More than 10 percent of Knox County Schools‘ buses are off the road amid a bus driver shortage leaving parents concerned about how long traveling will take for their children.
Some parents express how now it’s taken their children several hours to make it home from school.
Misty LaForge has a son, Mason LaForge, who goes to South Doyle Middle School. She said the bus shortage has her concerned.
Misty’s mother usually picks up her grandson at the bus stop, but one day, she didn’t know where he was and when he would be home.
“The day that he was on the bus, which was the 10th, for two hours,” LaForge said. “He got home at 5:26. He leaves school at 3:30. We got no notification.”
Knox County Schools said they are about 35 drivers short countywide.
“We have one bus trying to do the work of two buses in some cases. What that has resulted in is delays more than anything else. You know, kids not getting to school on time, having to wait sometimes significant amounts of time after school for a bus to come back and pick them up,” Director of Transportation Ryan Dillingham said.
According to contracted companies, they’re feeling the pressure and need more employees. Knox County Schools has a contact with JLL Transport LLC.
Owner of JLL Transport LLC John Llewellyn said, “Yesterday, I had a situation where two children couldn’t ride the bus because the bus was overcrowded. The transportation department took care of that today and put them on a smaller bus temporarily until we can get the situation under control. The way I understand it is that ridership is up this year immensely, so not only are we short bus drivers, we have a lot more kids than we’ve had in the last 2-3 years.”
Knox County isn’t the only county dealing with the driver shortage.
One bus contractor with Anderson County Schools said they have enough drivers for now but worries about people calling out of work.
“We’re very fortunate that we have all our seats filled right now, but we could still use some sub drivers,” President of Andersonville Bus Lines David Landreth said.
Monroe County is another that’s facing a shortage of bus drivers in the district. Sweetwater was short about 30 bus drivers with limited bus routes.
Many companies are trying to add incentives like pay raises to retain and hire more employees.
Apply for a bus driver position below, here is the list of links to the schools mentioned: