School bus companies desperately seek drivers as CPS school year starts

John Garcia Image
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
School bus driver shortage hits as school year starts
Kids are getting ready to go back to school, and school bus companies are desperately trying to recruit bus drivers to get them there.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- They have signs everywhere, and even a giant windstock stick figure, all to draw the attention of potential school bus drivers. The Illinois Central School Bus Company is down about 15% of the drivers they need to get CPS students to school.

"I've never seen anything like this through my employment here," said Cindy Sosnowski, Illinois Central School Bus.

The shortage of school bus drivers is a problem around the country. Some of it is caused by concerns about COVID-19, despite extensive cleaning and mandatory masks.

In Arlington Heights they are going to a staggered schedule at the high school so bus drivers can double up on routes.

"Some students come a little earlier and some leave a little later to make this work," said Stephanie Kim, spokesperson for School District 214.

Some people are responding to the outreach. Jordann Washington starts training this week.

"They got hiring signs all over the place so I might as well come get a job," she said.

Bus drivers get two weeks of training and have to pass a road test before they can drive with kids on board.