What Are School Bus Drivers Looking For In Their Jobs?

school bus driver

school bus driverThere are a lot of factors behind the current shortage of school bus drivers. One of the biggest reasons is that school bus driving can be seen as an unattractive career choice. There are many common problems and complaints about school bus driving which can prevent otherwise qualified people from pursuing it. A school district should look to mitigate these factors and offer school bus drivers what they want from their jobs. This will go a long way towards ensuring their routes remain fully staffed.

Four Things School Bus Drivers Want From Their Job

1. Livable pay.

Perhaps the biggest barrier to school bus driving is that it's only a part-time job. The hours make it extremely difficult to have a second job on the side. Even at pay rates averaging around $15/hr, it's just not enough to live on. This greatly limits the pool of drivers, mostly to those who already have a secondary source of income or a working spouse.

Offering higher pay can be one of the best ways to attract more drivers; however, this is not always an option.

2. Options for summer paychecks.

Another major issue with school bus driving is that most drivers must find another source of income in the summer. They're caught in another situation where maintaining a livable income is difficult. There's always the risk they'll find a different summer job and decide to stick with it rather than returning to drive in the fall. Whether it's through equalized 12-month pay or more in-district job opportunities, try to keep them on the payroll over the summer.

3. More administrative support.

To get caught in the middle of a conflict between a parent and administrators over disciplinary issues is one of the worst situations for a school bus driver. In many districts, the fear of being sued is so high that administrators will give in to even unreasonable parental demands - but where does this leave a driver who's just trying to keep their school bus safe?

School bus drivers need to feel the administration will have their back in a conflict.

4. Better technological tools on the job.

If you look at modern trucking fleets (another industry facing a driver shortage), their cabs are filled with technological devices intended to make the driver's life easier, backed up by computer-planned highly optimized routes. Why, then, are these still uncommon on school buses which are carrying a "cargo" that is infinitely more precious? Upgrading your fleet and route-planning systems might have up front costs, but they'll make the job more attractive to drivers and improve the safety and efficiency of your bus routes.

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