With a general shortage of bus drivers, Governor Charlie Baker will activate up to 250 Massachusetts National Guard members to help towns and cities provide school transportation.
According to the Office of Public Safety and Security Executive, these guards will drive school transport trucks (7D vehicles) to help solve shortages in certain areas.
7D vehicles are school transport vehicles with a maximum capacity of 10 students. A press release stated that Activated Guard personnel would undergo vehicle training to comply with state law “to ensure the safety and well-being of children and their families.”
Ninety guards are expected to start work in Chelsea and Lowell on Tuesday. This is where the staff shortage is most severe.
The bus driver shortage in Massachusetts and throughout the country is complicating the school year. Last year.
Parents complained that even though Acting Mayor Kim Janey said that student transportation wouldn’t be affected, there was a shortage of school buses which meant that many students didn’t show up to school on the first day.
The school district reported that the punctuality rate for students who arrived on time last Thursday was 57%. This is still higher than the 5-year average of students arriving on the first day of school.
The Boston School Bus Drivers Union, however, called the staff shortage “the most disastrous fiasco in our careers” and requested that officials postpone school’s start this year. However, the request was rejected.
Joanna McFarlane is the co-founder of HopSkipDrive and CEO. The company tracks problems with school buses and reports on driver shortages. It will make things worse.
The survey was conducted by her company in March. Nearly 80% of those surveyed reported difficulty finding enough drivers.
Pioneer News Agency contributed this report.