Bus Driver Hires Have Parents Concerned

With schools beginning to bring their students back from summer vacation, bus companies servicing Lakewood’s public and private schools are finding it difficult to fill a number of their open bus driver positions, a problem that has been affecting bus companies across the country. 

“They will literally take anyone at this point,” one individual familiar with Lakewood’s transportation system told TLS. “Some are offering sign-on bonuses, others are offering higher salaries. But all are struggling.”

The problem isn’t isolated to Lakewood. Across the country, bus companies are finding it nearly impossible to get enough school bus drivers. The shortage is being at least partially blamed on bus drivers generally being older individuals who are more susceptible to a serious Covid-19 infection, and therefore less willing to drive busses with people onboard.

Another problem besieging bus companies is that many drivers took other jobs when schools were shut down during the pandemic, and most of them don’t want to return to their old jobs. Others went on unemployment and have been receiving a federal boost to their benefits and find it financially unwise to return to work until those extra benefits expire.

“The shortage is concerning to me as a parent, not only because my children need bussing, but because of the safety aspect,” a parent told TLS. “If bus companies are forced to hire anybody willing to drive a bus, that can only mean one there: there is no vetting process. And without a vetting process, we really don’t know if the people behind the wheel are safe.”

Numerous parents have contacted TLS in recent days complaining of reckless and irresponsible bus drivers, with those reports coming in at a far higher clip than they have in the past. This perhaps shows that the bus drivers now being hired are indeed either not as skilled or less responsible than those who were being paid to drive children to school before the Covid-19 pandemic.

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  1. I suggest that some Kollel Yungeleit should consider driving a school bus taking Heilige Yiddishe Kinder to Yeshiva and Bais Yaakov. This will help them remain in Kollel longer and this way there will be Chosuvhe drivers.

    • and if nothing else, at least they will learn on their own flesh how challenging the job of driving a bus can be – the noise, the traffic and the hours. Perhaps they will be more appreciative of the school bus drivers who by and large are so responsible and caring

  2. While not negating the fear of drivers who drive recklessly etc, why don’t we focus on the many, many good drivers out there who do their job well!! And drive your kids if you’re seriously concerned.

  3. Reputable transportation companies have a strict hiring process for bus drivers. They are required a background check, driving records are checked, they are trained in emergencies and they are required to to a full pre-route bus check prior to the start of the day.

  4. To the author of this letter: vetting shouldn’t just be limited to school bus drivers, I think it should be applied to anyone that volunteers to do carpooling. Chashoove driver’s aren’t necessarily the safest driver’s either. May Hashem grant us a gbentched year to the whole olam.

    • So true, they are not always the safest in the physical sense but they are definitely safest for the ruchnius of our children’s neshamos so it’s still a better choice.

  5. I used to work in the office of a bus company and I was told by the manager to make sure I’m never alone in the office with the bus drivers.
    They are not people who have the same values we have. Yes, sometimes there are exceptionally kind drivers and we appreciate them tremendously however, we have all had our share of drivers who have terrorized our children. Drivers shouting and threatening, drivers stopping at the wrong stops and making young kids walk and cross streets… we can go on and on about bad drivers and it’s way overdue for this to be taken care of.

  6. If only the LSTA would pay the right price so the schools can afford to pay for Busess and drivers… there would be half the issues… and kids would have their buses more on time in school… and would not combine three different parts of lakewood on the same bus….

  7. I’m a bus driver in Lakewood I’m thinking of quiting driving a bus, I used to drive a bus in Boro Park, yes its a drop harder over there but they pay like a mentch, the schools over here are paying pennies, I’ll rather not work at all or go on unemployment.

    The schools are claiming that NJ doesn’t have the same grants for bussing like NY, That’s why they pay less.

    I have alot of friends who have CDL license and are not driving a bus because everyone is paying pennies, if they will start paying nicer I bet they’ll get plenty of drivers.

    The solution is that the government should start giving more money for bussing.

  8. The last thing we should be doing is asking yungerleit in kollel to drive buses. At times like these we need more people learning torah, more zchusim, not less. The Ribbono Shel Oilom can find reliable bus drivers, we dont need to pull people out of the beis medrash to drive buses.

    • We need the tremendous zechus of limud haTorah, but bussing can be during hours bein hasedarim. if someone is industrious as well as diligent, it is doable. And then its a win win situation – Parnassa and Torah side by side, and the kids being driven by a role model, an ehrliche person that you don’t have to worry about the music being played or the comments being dispensed, even in “all innocence”.

  9. It’s all because we don’t daven enough. If we’d all know who runs the world, we’d know that He can send us good nice bus drivers! It’s all in the hands of the riboinoi shel oilam!!!

  10. As a frum driver For a frum company with ONLY frum drivers for 2 years now in Lakewood, I suggest that runs given to the companies by either LSTA or private runs by the mosdos are screened by a full time secretary who can make proper sense of each run and combine stops (even if it causes some tircha on the parents part) this will make sure to consolidate each run to no longer than 30-35 min each run (including traffic). This will make each run smoother for both driver and students, driver will no longer complain about the money, and most importantly it will be much easier for the bus companies to find drivers! Who wouldn’t want to make over 50 bux an hour during Bein hasdarim!

  11. Response to mother. If I’m understand you accurately, better to worry about ruchniut than safety of the children. Yungerleit drivers are DEFINITELY NOT THE WAY TO GO. They’re inexperienced drivers and will cause MORE ACCIDENTS TO BE SURE.

  12. To Solution: putting levity aside. would you kindly text me the name & number of the company you work for just in case one day, Biezrat Hashem, I might want to apply for a driving job there. I’d greatly appreciate it. A gbentched year to all of Klal Yisrael.

  13. To Solution: I’d greatly appreciate it if you would text me the name & number of the bus company you work for just in case I might want to work there one day, Biezrat Hashem. A gbentched year to all of Klal Yisrael.

  14. As a bus driver in Lakewood for over ten years I have never seen such a blatant disregard for a school bus stop sign ! Cars racing past on the left side to avoid stopping for 30 seconds while brazingly endangered the lives of the children aboard .. now to my dusmay Lakewood drivers are passing school buses on the right ! There is always a child exiting ! Maybe if Lakewood drivers would heed to school buses and OBEY traffic laws drivers would be more willing to work in Lakewood!

  15. To Donna byrns: maybe there’s a way to equip the present school buses with high definition cameras that automatically snap a driver’s license plate number, left side & right side as you say every single time you have to stop your bus to pick up and/or discharge passengers. Just wondering.

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