Like many industries right now, transit companies are facing a shortage of employees. Particularly, finding enough bus drivers to service routes.
“Any transportation that you need, we service,” said Christopher Ives, safety manager at Mountain Transit.
Mountain Transit is responsible for getting students to and from school in 8 different districts around Vermont. They also drive for summer camps, Lake Monsters games, and most other charter needs. Ives says the company lost a handful of longtime drivers to retirement during the pandemic. He also says boosts in unemployment benefits have drove applicants away.
“Cut down on our applications and people interested in working,” he said. “We’d like to have all of our routes fully staffed, we’d like to have a few backup drivers, because you never know where there’s gonna be an emergency or someone’s gonna call for a last minute trip, and we’d like to say yes to them.”
A shortage of drivers means longer route times, but transit staff want parents to know that it won’t impact whether or not your child has a ride to school.
“We’re gonna get those kids to school and home safely whether we have to double up on routes, whatever the case,” Ives said. “It would just be easier with things fully staffed and if we had a couple standby drivers”
A commercial drivers license is needed to drive the mountain transit buses. The company does provide and pay for necessary training.