NORTHVILLE, Mich. (WXYZ) — It is problem that is happening around the country. There is a national shortage of school bus drivers.
It has caused numerous disruptions in bus service in Northville Public Schools. Some parents got a phone call this morning, notifying them their children’s bus would not be coming.
“Day by day you’re getting a phone call not really knowing whether the bus is going to get there or not. It does pose challenges,” said Maria Mooney, a Northville Mom.
Why is it happening? The district currently has 28 bus routes. It has 27 drivers.
There are two staff members credentialed to drive who have been substituting on the buses, but they are not enough to operate reliably.
“We kind of just bypassed and jumped the gun. We just pick her up now,” said Gary Groce, who now leaves work early daily to pick up his daughter and ensure she is not stranded at school.
WXYZ reached out to the school district, requesting an interview. We were told the district superintendent was in meetings with transportation leaders for a good portion of the day and did not have time to speak. The district sent us a letter recently sent home to parents.
The letter says the district is trying to decrease disruptions by releasing a schedule that cancels three routes a week, on a rotating basis, until the shortage is addressed. It means that families will not have bus service for a week once every 6 to 8 weeks.
“We will see how that plays out. Obviously with COVID and everything that happened probably a lot of bus drivers found other jobs or some of them retired,” said Mooney.