Clay County school bus driver shortage may cause delays in arrival, pick-up times

Zoey Fields

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Clay County District School parents to expect delays due to traffic, bus driver shortage.Getty Images

Clay County District schools currently have 10 openings for bus drivers and Superintendent David Broskie said parents should expect longer wait times for children coming home from school.

The driver shortage is affecting districts across the nation with Florida currently having 1,900 vacancies, according to an August 4 update.

The first day of Clay County schools is Wednesday, August 10.

“Especially on the first day of school when the majority of the county will go on the road at the same time, it will be slower travel conditions for everybody on the road,” Broskie said.

The superintendent acknowledged the national driver shortage affecting all industries where drivers are needed. The district also released a statement on its transportation page about the issue:

“The District expects that students and families may experience several impacts as school opens this year; they may include – changed bus stop locations, earlier pick-up times, longer bus rides and wait times, as well as other unplanned bus service delays.”

The district is working to recruit, hire, train and retain school bus drivers, it said. The paid Commercial Driver Training process has been updated to expedite the onboarding of new staff while still meeting state and federal training requirements.

Those interested in working as a driver for Clay County District Schools are encouraged to call the recruitment line at 904-336-0075 or email at driveclay@myoneclay.net

New CDL Intern Drivers’ pay starts at $15.67 per hour and drivers will receive payment during training. Experienced CDL drivers, with up to five years of experience, receive pay at $17.63 per hour. Bus compounds are located in Middleburg, Green Cove Springs and Keystone Heights.

“We have taken the step on implementing an assigned double-back system for a number of buses serving a number of Clay County District Schools,” Coordinator of Communications and Media Services Terri Dennis said. “As new bus drivers are onboarded, we will work to reduce the number of buses operating these planned double-backs.”

A “double-back” is when a driver is assigned one route and, once they are complete, they circle back for a second route of dropping students off. A double-back route impacts the times students will get picked up from the bus stop, as well as when they leave school for the day, according to whyy.org.

“The double-back system will help students not be on the bus as long,” Dennis said. “We have 21 routes spread out across from elementary to high school routes that will be impacted by the double-back initially.”

Parents have the option to download, “Here Comes The Bus,” a mobile, GPS-based application that tracks a student’s bus in real-time. The app gives updates to parents about when to have their child at the bus stop for pick-up, weather alerts and roadside dangers.

Click here to download “Here Comes The Bus” for free. Questions regarding the app, and transportation, can be directed to Transportation Department contact William Davis by email at william.davis@myoneclay.net or 904-336-0024.

In order to register a child to ride Clay County school buses, parents and guardians must first make a Bus Planner account. Once the child and address are registered, parents will have access to specific bus routes, Dennis said.

Click here for Bus Planner account registration.

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Accredited journalist with experience covering a wide range of stories consisting of breaking news, city and county government, crime and courts, feature stories and local interest. Facebook Bulletin writer, reporter; The Learning Curve. Twitter: @zoeyfields0

Jacksonville, FL
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