MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - With many K-12 students set to return to school in less than a week, school bus companies are still pulling out all the stops to find drivers.
On Wednesday, First Student held an event to give prospective drivers the chance to try out the buses. FOX 9 was on board as Annie Paul, a retired high school teacher and tennis coach, who was taking a bus out for a test drive.
She knows the need for drivers but debates whether it will work for her.
"I don’t know if I will or not," explained Paul. "I travel a lot in the winter so, I’m not sure it would be a good fit."
Out on the street, First Student bus company had no fewer than five signs to grab any attention and entice applicants to stop in and apply. In the first three hours, five people showed up. Annie was one of the five who came to kick the tires of what the job entails. In the current job market, it’s considered a success.
"We are thrilled to have five," said Nicole Bednark. "We are just grateful that anyone showed up and we love to tell them how driving a bus isn’t as scary as everybody thinks it might be."
Bus driver shortages are not new; it was a challenge before COVID-19 hit. Then the pandemic made some drivers, especially retirees, shy away. With unemployment levels now back to pre-pandemic levels, the challenge remains as does the push to convince people, especially the retirees, that this can work for them.