What is driver shortage? How do we fix it?
As school districts across North America move into a post-Covid world, many are starting to face another crisis brewing within their own transportation departments: Driver shortages.
While driver shortages are a familiar challenge to the transportation and logistics industry, the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 has exacerbated it. Furloughs and restrictions that resulted from this came as another blow for businesses and individuals that struggle to hire/retain drivers to meet their transportation needs.
One of the hardest hit areas in this industry has been school districts. Prior to the pandemic, between 28-47% of districts surveyed faced driver shortage issues depending upon the size of the fleet. Now some surveys have that number as high as 78% of districts that are struggling with staffing issues.
To say that school bus drivers were hit hard by Covid-19 pandemic is an understatement. School closures, capacity restrictions, and shifts to a remote-learning system led to large-scale furloughs of drivers that persisted for months, if not longer. And even those that stayed employed faced tough decisions. The average age of a school bus driver is 56 years old, which put them into a higher risk category of developing serious complications from the coronavirus. Many started working for private companies, switched careers, or even dropped out of the workforce altogether.
As restrictions begin to relax and transportation leaders look to the 2021-2022 school year, the current landscape looks to be filled with challenges for districts across North America.
Let's Pull Through Driver Shortage - Together
What Other Districts are Saying About Edulog's Advisory Services Team
Kern High School District - Bakersville, CA
Jason Fowler - Director of Transportation
The Kern High School District has been a customer of Edulog for more than 20 years, using their routing software. Recently, California mandated that high schools could not start school before 8:30AM. This required Kern High School District to change their bell schedule by about 1 hour, to meet this mandate. This quickly snowballed into problems for the afternoon schedule, especially for athletics. Therefore, the district had to get very creative with the new, not so improved, bell schedule. This affected our entire routing structure, causing us to essentially, scrapped everything we had built over the past decade. Once the district settled on the best bell schedule, we reach out to Edulog for some expert advice on route configuration. With the struggle to get enough drivers and now a new, not so desirable bell schedule, we needed to be able to do more with less. They were able to look at our data within the Edulog routing system, ask some clarifying questions and provide us with a comprehensive report that did just that. They were able to show us how we can meet the need and, in some cases, even we were able to provide a better service.
Pender County Schools - Burgaw, NC
Brandon Smith - Director of Transportation
Pender County Schools has contracted Edulog in the past for a wide variety of services. Each time Derek Graham and his team have provided professional services in an efficient and timely manner. We look forward to continuing to use Edulog in the future.
Mooresville Graded School District - Mooresville, NC
Michael J. Royal, Ed.D. - Chief of Schools
Mooresville Graded School District worked closely with Edulog for months on our recent redistricting project. Our project included the addition of a new middle school campus as well as reconfiguring our grades at six of our other campuses. They spent time getting to know our community and listened to the feedback provided by all stakeholders to create options for us to consider. We appreciated their dedication to our project to ensure we were doing what was best for our students, families, and school employees!
East Allen County Schools - New Haven, IN
Patrick McCann - Chief Financial Officer
The Bell-time Optimization Transportation Study brought value in that it was a 3rd party analysis of our current bus routes to ensure we making the most of our routes given the current bus driver shortage. The feedback was used by leadership to understand the impact of changing bell times for several of our schools resulting in additional routes being provided by families.