Fifteen Ways School Administrators Can Support School Bus Drivers

Drivers, school bus drivers

School-bus-drivers-4.jpgGiven how badly the school bus driver shortage is affecting school districts around the country, it's absolutely vital that school transportation directors and administrations do whatever they can to retain the drivers on their payroll. In many areas, this can even be a case where unusual or drastic action is needed because of how hard drivers can be to replace.

These are some of the best ideas we've heard from around the country that districts are using to increase retention of their school bus drivers.

15 Ways To Boost Your Bus Driver Retention

1. Have competitive salaries. Pay raises may hurt your budget, but if you aren't at least competitive with other districts in your state, you're going to lose drivers.

2. Offer other district employment opportunities. This can be a good way to help bus drivers pay the bills, and keep them on the payroll over the summer.

3. Be flexible on minor requests. The "give 'em the pickle" principle can apply here. It's important to keep morale high.

4. Have plenty of rewards, particularly in areas where you can single out drivers for outstanding job performance such as safe and legal driving.

5. Focus on bus rules and safety with students, including assemblies and presentations, to try to reduce disciplinary problems.

6. Do community outreach and inform the public about all the good done by their school bus drivers.

7. Occasional free dinners are great morale-builders, like BBQ or pizza nights.

8. Always include your drivers in district events.  Don't make them feel like second-tier employees.

9. Sponsor ongoing learning for your drivers, such as partnering with a local community college or reimbursing college classes.

10. Take some personal interest. Send out birthday or anniversary cards. Help them feel like they are "part of the family."

11. Occasionally spruce up the driver's common room, even if it's just slapping a new coat of paint on the wall or putting in new chairs.

12. Have well-established avenues of communication so drivers always feel like they have points of contact in administration to discuss issues.

13. Respect bus drivers' time.  They have an intensely time-focused job, and will take it badly if, for example, if administrators are late to meetings.

14. Be willing to stick up for drivers when they have disputes with parents over disciplinary issues, particularly if you have hard evidence (such as video) that backs up their side.

15. Look to install additional technology on your buses, like GPS units, RFID trackers, or video cameras, which can all improve your metrics while making the drivers' jobs easier.

BusBoss Is Here To Help

Need more advice on optimizing and refining your overall transportation strategies? Contact us today for a free consultation and suggestions for improvement!

Download Our Guide to Bus Route Optimization

How is your district improving driver morale? Please let us know in the comments below!