UniteGPS – The bus driver shortage remains a top priority for private contractors according to a recent survey conducted by the National School Transportation Association (NSTA). The Pennsylvania-based agency collaborated with Transfinder, a subsidiary of Transfinder Corp. known for its routing and logistics software, to facilitate the study from March 7-14. 

“This NSTA poll validates what we already knew to be true and that a severe school bus driver shortage continues to impact student transportation,” said NSTA Executive Director Curt Macysyn, in a recent press release.

Among the 55 private school bus company members that participated in the survey, over half claimed to be 10 percent understaffed. Around 12 percent of respondents also shared missing 20 percent of necessary drivers while 16 percent reported the entire driver workforce has decreased between 16 and 20 percent.

Supporting UniteGPS’ recent call to action to fight the hiring shortage via student bus driver programs, an overwhelming 94 percent of respondents described lower than expected staffing numbers. According to Transfinder founder and CEO Antonio Civitella, the majority of respondents were lacking between 6 to 15 percent of personnel.

“That’s a sizable shortage that districts are working to overcome to transport students safely and on time every day,” said Civitella. “We know the school bus is the safest form of transportation available to students.”

Bus driver shortage survey

NSTA develops private school bus transportation solutions for both national and state partners, working closely with agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Following years of pandemic-related complications, the survey was an attempt to better gauge the severity of the driver shortage for private operators comprising 40 percent of school bus coverage in the country. This includes 200,000 vehicles and around 380,000 employees.

One of the main findings of the poll shares that the iconic yellow school bus is the safest way for students to attend school compared to walking, riding bikes, or in passenger vehicles. The NSTA reports that school-age children have a fatality rate 70 times higher than school buses when taking transportation to and from school.

Over 26 million children rely on school bus transportation each day to receive an education in the United States.