LEWISBURG, Pa. — It's back to school for many students this week, but a lot of districts are hitting roadblocks. There is a nationwide shortage of school bus drivers.
"I would love to say that we were immune to the nationwide shortage, but we're not. We are certainly looking to hire drivers. We have been hiring drivers, and we will continue hiring drivers," said Kristen McGaffin, manager for personnel and recruiting for Rohrer, which provides buses for 20 school districts in Pennsylvania.
McGaffin says it's been an issue for several years and has gotten worse with the pandemic. In some school districts, the shortage has led to drivers combining routes. McGaffin wouldn't say how many drivers Rohrer needs to hire because it's different for every school district.
"It is a great way to be involved in your community, to get to know the kids, and to feel like you're really a part of where you live," McGaffin said.
School bus drivers need 14 hours of class time and then up to 20 hours of in-bus training.
"We not only provide the training; we have PennDOT-certified trainers on our staff who will walk them through the whole process, through the classroom, through the in-bus, through the testing, and get them on the road," McGaffin said.
In the past, Rohrer has held events where the community was invited to come and test-drive a school bus. The company plans to hold more events like that.
"We offer them to anyone who calls and wants to set one up. Our next big round of events will probably happen around School Bus Safety Week, which is in October," McGaffin said.