Richmond County bus drivers needed as the school year quickly approaches

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re checking back in with Richmond County schools and their bus driver openings after being in crisis mode several times last year.

When we last checked, openings were higher at 28 than during those crisis situations last year.

We sat down with the Transportation Workers Union in Richmond County. They say there are now 34 drivers down as we approach the first day of school.

Based on the numbers we’ve reported, this is the largest deficit the district has been in over the past two years. Drivers are looking to the district for some change.

Yolanda Brown is one of the dedicated few in the Richmond County School System.

“Oh gosh, I’ve been a driver for 13 years,” she said.

We asked her about last year as a bus driver…

“Rough. Rough,” said Brown.

and how she’s preparing for this school year…

“Praying. We’re praying,” she said.

We reported in December that the district was in crisis mode with 14 openings. Months later, it increased to 20 open positions and in July they were down 28 drivers.

That number continues to increase.

Drivers hope the staggered start times will alleviate delays and burnout.

“It should help some, and at least we know we can gauge where our children are and how much time we need to do for each route,” she said.

The Transportation Workers Union says higher pay could solve the driver shortage.

“It’s embarrassing to say what our pay range is, especially since they already know the pay range for other counties. That would be the top thing, to get the pay in order to attract people and bring in more people that will actually stay with us,” she said.

Until something changes, they’re telling parents to go easy on them.

“For our parents, just bear with us. We’re going to do the best we can for your children. Our main and top goal is to make sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be safe and sound,” she said.

One of the biggest solutions to this problem is the community.

Drivers and the school system say people stepping up to become drivers is one way to help solve this issue. You can do that by going to the district’s website to apply.

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