Current and former ACPS bus drivers meet with parents to discuss driver shortage

Parents in Albemarle County got together for a meet and greet with current and former bus drivers.
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 1:37 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Parents in Albemarle County got together for a meet and greet with current and former bus drivers.

About a dozen drivers and parents came to the event. They say they are all beyond frustrated as they to figure out how to get their children to school before the school year starts.

“It’s really infuriating, to say the least,” said Katie Zoll. “This isn’t like a viable solution. Just tell parents, ‘Hey, sorry about your luck.’”

Zoll has four kids attending Albemarle County public schools. She is one of many parents who got cut from the ACPS bus route.

“It breaks my heart that we had to do that. Right now, it is a driver shortage. It isn’t just an Albemarle issue. It’s a national issue,” ACPS Director of Transportation Charmaine White said.

White as asking parents who don’t need a bus ride to let ACPS know.

“Check the box that you don’t need the service so that we can target and focus on those families to do,” White said.

Former ACPS bus driver Kellie Washington says this shortage stems from a lack of respect for drivers.

Washington organized the event so that parents could speak directly with bus drivers.

“Sometimes, the parents don’t look at the bus drivers as people. They kind of looked at them as an extension of the bus,” Washington said.

She says drivers themselves need to be included in the conversations.

“They need to talk about what they think. What’s working and what’s not working. They never get asked, you know, transportation doesn’t ask them. The school board doesn’t ask them,” Washington said.

Zoll says that until a solution is found, she expects the shortage will take a toll on her children’s education.

“They’re just gonna have to understand when my kid doesn’t get to school on time,” Zoll said. “We all really feel like, you know, especially the rural kids and staff were targeted with this, and it’s not fair access to education.”

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