Bus Driver Shortage Frustrates Parents

by Cheikh Lo ‘24

Since before the 2022-2023 school year, MCPS has been suffering from a bus driver shortage affecting many routes across the county and causing much frustration to parents who have been forced to take their kids to school due to buses not showing up. Just over a week before the school year started, MCPS reported 70 open school bus driver positions. As of early November, that number stood at 32. Faced with the ongoing shortage, MCPS even requested help from the National Guard to provide 200 bus drivers.

MCPS has acknowledged the challenges posed by the driver shortage in a recent newsletter to parents and staff. “The school system uses substitute drivers and multiple runs to keep as many buses as possible on the road for school each day. Canceling a bus route is a last resort,” according to the newsletter. Due to the lack of buses, some students are being excused from classes due to their buses not showing up. 

Some causes of the bus driver shortage are drivers calling out due to covid-19 cases and other illnesses. Also, cold weather and long workdays have exhausted many drivers, according to Ride On Transit Coordinator Clint Sobratti. Low wages and low morale are also significant reasons for MCPS losing many drivers and being unable to recruit new ones.