Help needed: School leaders need more bus drivers

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – As kids head back to school, officials tell us they’re scrambling to find more bus drivers.  The reason: transportation leaders say lots of people are retiring or choosing to leave for full-time work.

NewsChannel 15 uncovered it’s not just Allen County dealing with the shortage, it’s a problem statewide.  East Allen County Schools Transportation Director Mel Falkner made time to talk with us on camera in hopes of finding qualified drivers because he needs 25 of them.

“It’s very serious. We need drivers,” EACS Director of Transportation Mel Falkner said.

As maintenance workers put the finishing touches on school buses, Mel Falkner the Director of EACS Transportation is doing everything he can to find qualified bus drivers.

“People who love kids that are interested in being a good role model. Somebody who has good attendance, a dependable person.”

On top of that, you have to pass a background check, get a permit for a CDL, and go through about five weeks of training before getting behind the wheel.

Although Falkner says it may not be the easiest job, he does say it’s very rewarding.

“When you’re not on the job and you’re out in the public and you see the kids that ride your bus. They come up to you and hug you and introduce you to their parents. That’s my bus driver over there.”

Right now, all of the routes are covered.  He’s hiring most of the 25 as substitute drivers because Falkner says there’s no way of predicting when someone may get sick or break a bone.  In the meantime, If that means a driver doubling up a route until a sub is trained, Falkner says they’ll do that.

“We don’t have the option of just saying we can’t get there, we’ll get them and we will get them home.”


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