UniteGPS – For some communities, dispersing gas cards and city bus passes to students amidst a bus driver shortage is actually a viable solution to today’s hiring woes. Not having to adjust routes schedules and pickup times as often, Lansing School District in Michigan is one place investing in this strategy.
So far this year, the Lansing School District has invested $497,300 on 2,499 gas cards, ranging between $25 to $50 a month, according to Mark Johnson from the Lansing State Journal. Additionally, the district has paid over $33,550 into city bus passes through the Capital Area Transportation Authority.
These gas cards and city bus passes go out to students unassigned to a route or those who willingly don’t take the school bus. Compared to where the school district was last year, this strategy seems to be worth it.
Today few students at Lansing School District are on a waitlist, and if they are, they have access to gas cards or CATA cards, according to Superintendent Benjamin Shuldiner. By the end of the year, the district anticipates spending $720,000 on gas cards.
As reported by Johnson, Lansing School District annually pays $3.7 million to Dean Transportation for bus service and extra fees for special education. The company transports over 4,395 students on bus routes with fees based on route coverage.
For Lansing School District, the price for gas cards and city bus passes is equivalent to bus services since it pays Dean Transportation per route. So, sometimes providing a student an alternative is cheaper than the school bus.
Dean Transportation has reportedly done a commendable job at dealing with the driver shortage, such as hosting hiring events, increasing hourly wages to $21, providing $750 sign-on bonuses, as well as $400 monthly incentives for drivers to shuttle students.