YUHSD says they need more bus drivers to make everyone's lives easier - 13 On Your Side's Vanessa Gongora reports
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Yuma School's Director of Transportation, Ron Schepers, says the Yuma Union High School District (YUHSD) needs 37 bus driver positions to fill in order to be fully staffed, which will help the department get back to normal operating procedures.
The district says it's still trying to recover from the pandemic by getting people back into the workforce.
According to Schepers, the impact of the driver shortage not only affects his staff by working overtime, but has required changes to travel for athletics and extracurricular activities.
"Yeah, we have been combining teams together. We've been combining routes together when we have room to do that, just to utilize the most amount of effective room that we have on our buses at any given time," explains Schepers.
The school district is even using other means of transportation such as charter buses or rental vehicles.
Though the district says the cost and availability of charter buses and rental vehicles is not sustainable, particularly during the winter months in Arizona when demand is at its highest.
YUHSD also wants to inform families of students, schools may be subject to occasional double runs on various days throughout the year.
Double runs are scheduled accordingly and you can visit YumaUnion.org to check your bus route.
Denise Gudina, 2022 graduate from Cibola High School, says as an athlete she waited about two hours for a bus, adding students don't realize there is a driver shortage and need to be more understanding.
"The overtime that the drivers are doing just to get these kids to school, to their sport events and they don't think about the struggle it can be for them and their families," states Gudina.
Gudina mentions having to travel with more than one team on a bus isn't ideal.
"The boys and the girls all had to ride in one bus and cram into one bus and going to places like El Centro or Phoenix and it was very crammed and not comfortable at all," continues Gudina.
Schepers says there are many benefits of being a school bus driver.
"You get to work with kids, you get to have an impact on their life," says Schepers. "There is some flexibility in schedules because you'll work early morning, later afternoon, have the middle of the day to take care of different things and appointments that you have."
He shares his gratitude to his transportation staff for their hard work and dedication.
Drivers make $16 an hour and the Yuma Schools Transportation Center will provide all training.
You can find the application to be a Yuma school bus driver here.