Bus driver shortage: How much do school bus drivers earn?
Research from USA Today has pointed to school bus shortages in every state in the run up to the new school year. What is causing them?
It is back to school season in the US and, with vast changes to how and when families work, less people than ever take their kids to school. Usually no worries, right? A bus will come along, swoop them up and enable you to continue your working day.
At least this was the way things were working. USA Today has found every state to be struggling with keeping school bus runs going.
With 50 percent of school children using buses to get to school, the problem needs addressing as soon as possible. Lower-income children are disproportionately affected by missing buses.
Survey data from HopSkipDrive, a school bus vehicle for hire company, notes 92 percent of education leaders reported that they are facing driver shortages.
“It’s not like we’re seeing this in one particular state, or like this is cities versus ruralm” said Joanna McFarland, co-founder of HopSkipDrive. “This is something that almost every single school district is facing. … It is affecting everything, everywhere.”
Why there is a lack of school bus drivers
Simply put, it is not an enticing job, especially after so many drivers were let go during the covid-19 pandemic.
The major reason for this is pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school bus drivers last year made a mean annual wage of $42,400. The average salary in the US is far higher than this at $54,132.
That figure also assumes full time, which is not very common, and many are making less than $20 an hour. This irregular schedule makes it challenging to find additional work or balance personal commitments, impacting job stability and income. There are also limited access to benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off due to the part-time nature of the job.
Outside of pay, licenses must be acquired. There is a responsibility of looking after the children on the way to school too.
It all adds up to a package that few are finding appealing.