ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Public School district has a new bus service provider this year to combat the bus driver shortages. Several parents have expressed their frustration during the last school year. They reported their child missed classes because bus drivers never arrived at their bus stop.
“We’re doing everything we can to make this a smoother process than it was before,” said George Sells, St. Louis Public Schools spokesperson. He cautions that driver shortages are not going away anytime soon.
“This is a national problem,” said Sells. “It’s not something unique to St. Louis metro or St. Louis City.”
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The district’s new bus service provider Missouri Central School Bus was selected during a bidding process after the previous contract with First Student expired. The new bus provider is hiring now to be ready for the start of the school year.
Missouri Central School Bus held a job fair Wednesday, advertising a starting hourly wage of $25 an hour and a guarantee of a minimum of five hours of work per day. Training is also paid.
“Probably one the most popular benefits we have is the child ride-along program,” said Scott Allen, spokesperson for Missouri Central School Bus.
He said the company allows drivers to bring their children with them on the bus routes they drive.
Isabella Mull is a bus driver with First Student, the company St. Louis Public Schools contracted with last year. She said she was filling out an application to join Missouri Central School Bus Thursday because she hopes to continue to drive a route.
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“It’s not always about the money,” said Mull. “Driving a bus is something that I like to do.”
Geneece Gander was also filling out an application as a bus operator. She said she has never driven a school bus before.
“I just feel like the kids needed more bus drivers because it was hard for them to get to school,” said Gander.
Allen said the company will be filling approximately 400 total positions related to St. Louis Public Schools. There are approximately 300 bus driver positions and 100 bus monitor positions related to the district.
The focus of Wednesday’s hiring event was on filling the positions, but Allen said the company is also looking for full-time technicians and mechanics. For more information call 314-762-0318.