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Long Island parents brace for potential delays on first day of school due to bus driver shortage

Long Island parents are bracing for possible delays on the first day of school due to the school bus driver shortage.

News 12 Staff

Aug 24, 2022, 9:11 PM

Updated 668 days ago

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Long Island parents are bracing for possible delays on the first day of school due to the school bus driver shortage.
Robert Quinn, the chief operating officer of WE Transport in Plainview, says they're warning Long Island school districts that there may be some delays because there aren't enough bus drivers. He says the shortage is mainly due to COVID-19 concerns.
“It's been difficult. We've been experiencing a driver shortage for several years now here on Long Island,” he says.
Delia Donohue, of Bethpage, is wondering if the bus will show up for her seventh-grade daughter on the first day of school.
“It's such an important job, and we need more bus drivers. The lack of them will be a big concern for a lot of parents,” she says. “As a working parent, I am concerned because if you don't have the support at home to get your child on the bus, then you have to find other means of getting them there."
Noor Mayan, of Syosset, says his family is prepared for any potential challenges.
“We are expecting it's going to be late coming or will not show up at all…we are already planning it if the bus driver doesn't show up,” he says.
Quinn says WE Transport is doing everything it can to minimize disruptions on the 1,300 routes it operates on Long Island and in New York City. The company has been recruiting and enticing new drivers by increasing wages, benefits and offering incentives like sign-on and referral bonuses.
“I think it's going to be a challenge. We have a good plan in place where we have 40 trainees in our program now that will hit the road in mid-September. We’re working closely with school districts and with other bus companies to mitigate those challenges,” Quinn says.
David Velazquez, of Queens, is retired but came to WE Transport on Wednesday for an interview after hearing about the openings and benefits.
“They got a lot of decent benefits that I like. A sign-on bonus, for one,” he says.
WE Transport says it has about 40 trainees, but between fingerprinting, background checks, obtaining a CDL License and training, it takes between four to five weeks to get bus drivers out on a route.


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