In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, an increasing number of people are deciding to leave the profession of driving, suggesting that key industries like ride-hailing and delivery services have a difficult road ahead.
This issue is particularly acute in school districts that are struggling with a shortage of school bus drivers as the new academic year gets started this week for many schools throughout the country, according to the National School Bus Drivers Association.
Result Of The Covid Driver Shortage, School Districts & Ride-Hailing Businesses Are Suffering
In addition to school bus drivers, drivers in other industries have also seen a stop in operations as a consequence of the pandemic, which does not just impact school bus drivers. Uber and Lyft, two ride-hailing companies, say that driver shortages are forcing their pricing and wait times to rise as a result of the lack of available drivers.
Aside from that, some gas stations are running out of fuel due to a shortage of tanker truck drivers needed to deliver the gasoline. As the school year draws to a close, this shortfall is becoming a significant concern for school districts, despite a paucity of drivers having persisted throughout the pandemic.
In accordance with statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of drivers decreased significantly during the first stages of the pandemic.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the trucking industry lost more than 88,000 jobs between March and April 2020, while the transit and ground passenger transportation sectors lost more than 185,000 jobs in only one month.
It is expected that the demand for school bus drivers will continue to be at “crisis levels” across the nation for the next few months.
According to the National School Transportation Association, the industry’s ability to provide continuous service throughout the school year and into the summer months would almost definitely be hampered as a result of this shortage.
Fairfax County, Virginia’s public school system, which is situated just outside of the nation’s capital, is trying to fill almost three times the number of driver jobs that it would usually have in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
According to trucking trade organizations, low pay and harsh working conditions are two of the primary reasons why workers are quitting the business in increasing numbers.
Todd Spencer, President of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, emphasized that not enough has been done to keep drivers in the business and that more must be done.
For example, according to Spencer, “excellent people may choose better professions, better places that do not suffer from many of the problems that trucking suffers from.” “They take a look around and take advantage of the opportunities that offer themselves to them.”
But there are promising signs that financial incentives for school bus drivers are starting to expand throughout the country, which is excellent news for those who work in the industry.
In response to the strong demand for commercial driver’s license holders, Fairfax County is awarding new bus drivers with a $3,000 sign-on incentive in addition to competitive starting pay, according to Furby, who also works for the county.
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