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Chandler Unified putting staff behind the school bus wheel due to driver shortage

Posted at 12:57 PM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 15:06:57-05

CHANDLER, AZ — School districts across the state are grappling with the bus driver shortage. Chandler Unified School District recently acquired 'fleet buses' for each of their high schools as a way of circumventing the use of their traditional buses.

Steve Hewitt, the Transportation Director for CUSD says they currently have ordered the 'fleet bus' for all of their junior high schools.

"The fleet bus does not require the driver to have a commercial driver's license, so our administrators, coaches and teachers can drive students to and from location in these new buses," said Hewitt.

The 'fleet bus' can transport up to 14 students. For now, the buses are being used for sports, extracurricular activities and events, and even day field trips.

"The convenience is there, the administrator or coach using these doesn't have to go to our bus yard for the bus, since these stay at each high school," he adds.

Chandler is one of many districts currently hiring and has been hiring for the last few years. Hewitt attributes the shortage of bus drivers due to the high retirement rate currently undergoing the baby boomer population.

"Many of our bus drivers have been with us more than 20 years, and many of them are retiring," he adds.

The new fleet buses are not replacing the traditional yellow buses anytime soon, as the capacity is a small percentage of a traditional bus, but it does provide a secondary alternative specially when bus drivers are simply not available for a necessary ride or transport.

To view current open positions with CUSD click here.