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Massachusetts in Need of More School Bus Drivers

Credit: Unsplash

School districts throughout the United States are facing a significant shortage of school bus drivers. The closure of schools during the pandemic led to many drivers being laid off, and some chose to retire. Now, as students return to in-person learning, there is a noticeable decrease in the number of available drivers, with many still concerned about issues such as the delta variant, mask mandates, and vaccination requirements.

Massachusetts, in particular, is experiencing a critical shortage of bus drivers. To address this, Governor Charlie Baker has decided to utilize the National Guard to fill the gap. In a recent press release, Baker announced that up to 250 National Guard members would be deployed to drive 7D vans, also known as “school pupil transport vehicles.” Approximately 90 guard members have already received training to drive in Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, and Lynn.

“Once it became pretty clear that there were going to be some communities shorthanded — it wasn’t going to be a vehicle issue, it was going to be people with [commercial driver’s licenses] — we started talking to the Guard,” Baker explained.

“There are a bunch of communities who have said they’re interested in this, and we’re glad to be able to help because it’s important.”

Other states and cities facing their own bus driver shortages have implemented various strategies to attract new drivers to the profession. For example, Montana is offering a $4,000 bonus to incentivize new drivers to join.

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