Driver shortage leaves students waiting on school bus - FOX 13 News

Driver shortage leaves students waiting on school bus

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A bus driver shortage in the Hillsborough County School District is causing delays for students trying to get home. A group of students ended up waiting two hours on the bus, we're told, at Tampa Bay Technical High School Tuesday.

"That is not an ideal situation," said District Spokesman Steve Hegarty. "We try to make it as pleasant as we can. We make sure if somebody has to go to the bathroom, we've got that covered. We open the windows and kids can do their homework, but that's not an ideal situation, obviously."

The problem: not enough bus drivers. Sometimes, students have to wait for available drivers to make other runs and come back. The district is short about 100 drivers.

"You need to have a really good driving record," explained Hegarty. "You need to be able to handle driving a bus, watching the traffic with a huge bus, with 60 middle school kids behind you."

Hegarty says drivers make about $10 an hour.

Mechanical problems and driver sick calls can also throw things off any given day. But the district says students have only been had to wait a few times this school year, and almost never for two hours in the August heat.

"There is air conditioning on most of our buses, but I will tell you that if the bus is sitting there on the ramp, we're not going to idle that bus. It's not good for the environment and it uses a lot of gas," Hegarty said.

The district says the high school students who waited on the bus Tuesday didn't attend Tampa Bay Tech, but rather, various magnet schools. An assistant principal was on the bus with the students while they waited for the driver.

The district admits what happened is a problem they are working on.

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