Bus driver shortage leaves students in Waterbury scrambling to get to school

New Haven

Back to School Photos 2021-22

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – Students were scrambling to get to school on a rainy day on Wednesday. Last year, COVID-19 left many students at home learning via Zoom.

This year, a school bus driver shortage is causing some students to arrive late for class.

“We are down 16 bus drivers, so it’s quite significant,” said Sujata Wycoff, Communications Director for Waterbury Public Schools.

That lack of drivers in the Waterbury School District is causing some of its drivers to make multiple runs throughout the day.

While the solution to the problem is more bus drivers, getting them on board is easier said than done. School officials say the bus company has fired at least six drivers to start on Thursday of this week.

“They have 25 in the pipeline that have to go through the verification process and the background checks, they’re testing and DMV checks,” said Will Zhuta, Director of Technology for Waterbury Public Schools.

While some school bus drivers across the country have opted out of the job due to the pandemic, city’s like New Haven has offered certified drivers a $5,000 incentive to climb behind the wheel.

Meanwhile, the bus company in Waterbury is launching a bus tracking application to allow parents to keep up with their child until they reach their destination.

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