Local bus driver shares why he decided to join the ongoing battle

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 6:34 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s the home stretch to summer, but local school districts are dealing with the same problem we’ve seen all year long.

The lack of bus drivers leads to overcrowded buses, late routes, and long hours for students, parents, and staff.

Across the board, things seem to be moving in the right direction. Aiken and Columbia counties say they’ve seen success hiring and filling some of their openings. But Richmond county shows more opening than before.

We talked to one man who steps up every day to fill the need of bus drivers.

After nearly ten years in the military, Christopher Mulliens decided to fill a massive gap during the pandemic.

“I started being a bus driver when I noticed Richmond County was asking for people to join the force,” he said.

For the last year, he’s buckled his seatbelt to get kids to and from school in Richmond County.

“Instead of being a part of the problem, let me be a part of the solution,” said Mulliens.

It hasn’t been easy for any driver.

“The past year has been very hectic. We don’t have enough bus drivers. The burnout rate has been very high,” he said.

From December 8, Aiken is down to 28 openings, and Columbia is down to 30. In Richmond, they have 20 openings, which is up from 14.

“I love it. However, the shortage that we’re going through is causing burnout,” he said.

It’s long hours, not enough pay, and consistently having issues on their buses.

“I recently experienced some things like a loaded gun on my bus, two students were shot on my bus, and some students jumped another student on my bus,” he said.

They hope that others in the community will take a moment to walk in their shoes one day.

“It’s a difference between being able to hear about it and riding the bus and experiencing it are two separate things. I wish the board of education members would really get on board and see what we do daily,” said Mulliens.

If you’re interested in becoming a bus driver, visit ACPSD, RCBOE, or CCBOE.

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