Albemarle County's Bus Driver Shortage Taking its Toll on Families & Employees
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Students in Albemarle County are now back in the classroom for the school year but a critical bus driver shortage is taking its toll on families and employees.
Albemarle County is seeing a bus driver shortage for the 11th year in a row despite receiving part of a $1 million grant from the school board to help make the hiring process more attractive.
"This past year we increased the wage a couple of bucks an hour so now it's $15 dollars an hour roughly, and as always they still get health benefits for a part-time position, and lastly there was a change in the number of hours that need to be worked per day to get a VRS pension. So now if a driver works 6 hours a day for 182 days they would get a VRS state pension," said Jim Foley, the school division’s director of transportation.
County officials are filling in to help with the shortage, but it is still affecting student's schedules.
"They are late getting home, we have complaints from parents, you know the kids having to get home late, but it is the best we can do right now with the shortage that we have," says Diane Critzer, area transportation supervisor.
This issue is not unique to Albemarle County. A statewide survey by the Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation shows close to 80% of localities have a bus driver shortage.