School bus driver shortage issue improving in New Haven, but delays for students remain, officials say

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The school bus driver shortage in New Haven is improving by the week, according to school officials on Tuesday. Several drivers were added just this week, but delays for some students are expected to continue until this is resolved.

“It’s going to get incrementally better, but it’s going to take some time,” said Carl Jackson, director of Transportation for the New Haven Board of Education.

Transportation was discussed during the Board of Ed. meeting Tuesday night.

“We’re certainly working with the contractor, First Student, on a daily basis to see what we can do to find ways to improve it,” Jackson told News 8, ahead of the meeting. “They’re taking managers out of offices, mechanics, dispatchers — anyone who’s qualified, certified to drive the bus safely.”

Jackson explained, there are 301 routes and 278 drivers. He said First Student has had to combine routes because of this shortage, which can result in delays of 10 minutes or more.

“They also have drivers that are in the pipeline,” said Jackson. “At least 25, 30 drivers who are being certified.”

During the Board of Ed. meeting, members raised concerns about what’s been happening.

“This is a part of their education, you know?” said Dr. Tamiko Jackson-McArthur, member of the New Haven Board of Ed. “Buses coming early, leaving early… all kinds of things I know are part of what we’re dealing with.”

Dr. Jackson-McArthur added she’s worried about the colder months approaching and the sun going down much earlier in the afternoon come winter.

Bus companies, such as First Student, are offering up incentives for experienced and new drivers. Anyone who’s interested is encouraged to apply. 

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