School bus companies offering signing bonuses due to driver shortage

KBOI photo

A national school bus driver shortage is now affecting school districts here in the Gem State.

One of the reasons for the shortage is the improving economy, according to First Student, the bus company that serves the Boise School District.

Fewer people are looking for part-time work now that the economy is getting better, and that means fewer drivers.

"When we say shortage, it doesn't mean we can't cover routes," said Suzi Quaintance with First Student. "It just means our pool of spare drivers is smaller than we would like. And the turnover is a little more than we've seen in the last couple of years. "

First Student is still looking for drivers for this upcoming school year.

They are offering a $1500 signing bonus for drivers who already have a Commercial Driver's License, and $1000 for people with no experience.

Drivers say it's a rewarding job.

"Most of these drivers feel like they are making a difference in kids lives by transporting them," Quaintance said. "Sometimes we are the first person a child sees in the day and sometimes a good morning or have a nice weekend is how these drivers really feel."

Drivers have to go through training and background checks before they are hired.

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