ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Public Schools announced Monday that it will temporarily suspend bus routes to eight schools for the first two weeks of the school year due to driver shortage.

The temporary suspension of bus routes will impact 3,450 students. St. Louis Public Schools’ transportation partner Missouri Central Bus Service, has been unable to hire, train and certify enough drivers to handle all students eligible for transportation in the district.

Dr. Kelvin Adams, St. Louis Public Schools superintendent said they will be providing Metrolink bus passes or gas cards for students at the following eight schools Central Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), Collegiate School of Medical and Bioscience (CSMB), Gateway STEM, Roosevelt High School, Sumner High School, Betty Wheeler Classical Junior Academy, Mallinckrodt Academy of Gifted Instruction, and Vashon High School.

Tearra Johnson is a parent of a student at Roosevelt High School. She questioned why the issues could not have been addressed sooner. 

“We all knew school was going to start so, what’s the problem?” asked Johnson.  

She said she has concerns about high school students who were accustomed to school bus routes now using Metro for transportation. 

“Half these kids are probably going to get lost, depending on how far you’re coming from,” said Johnson. “It’s sad.”  

FOX 2 reached out to other districts about their responses to potential bus driver shortages. Parkway referred us to this link: https://www.parkwayschools.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=63&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=77179&PageID=1.

Rockwood School District addressed the driver shortage in 2021 by instituting approximately one-mile no transportation zones. In 2022, the district cut one route that fell within the one-mile zone and combined others to address the continued shortage. Before the pandemic, Rockwood had over 150 bus routes, now it’s down to 99. The district also increased starting pay for drivers to over $18/hour. 

The Mehlville School District didn’t state any bus route changes in 2022 but it is short drivers. The staff at the transportation office will be driving busses and the district continues to look for more applicants. 

The Lindbergh School District reported it has enough drivers to staff the bus routes for the beginning of the school year.

The St. Louis Public Schools District planned to speak with parents of elementary students about eligibility for mileage reimbursements of up to $75 per week (gas cards) for one family car to handle pick up, and drop off. The rate is the same per family no matter how many students are involved.

Adams said the reimbursements will be issued each Friday and perfect attendance is required for all elementary and high school students to receive a gas card.

Missouri Central claimed to be short of 65 drivers, but they said they are expecting an increase.

“We anticipate our numbers to continue to improve over the coming weeks,” said Scott Allen, Regional Operations Manager for Missouri Central Bus Service. “Currently, we have 160 drivers on our books. We’re running about 152 routes starting on Monday.”

The bus service encouraged anyone interested to apply on their website at www.driveayellowbus.com. For updates from SLPS regarding the transportation situation, parents can visit https://www.slps.org/transportation



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