GRAFTON, W.Va. (WBOY) – Bus drivers have been in high demand nationwide, and West Virginia is no exception.
Taylor County Public Schools held its first ever “Bus Driver Roundup” on Saturday. During the event, people were able to stop by at Grafton High School’s parking lot and test out their school bus driving skills.
It was part of the effort to hire more substitute drivers in Taylor County Public Schools. Currently, there are 32 full time drivers and two substitutes, according to school officials. They added that this lack of drivers makes it harder for people to take time off or call out when sick.
People who came were able to drive one of the two buses present, with a certified bus driver guiding them on what they needed to do. Among the skills practiced, participants drove around the parking lot, parallel parked and drove in reverse.
“It’s a very rewarding job, and you know, you do an a.m. run and a p.m. run, and it’s very rewarding. And you know, once you get in a bus, and you haul the kids and see what it’s like, most people make a career out of it,” Transportation Supervisor Todd Bolyard said.
Bolyard attributes the lack of bus drivers partially to the oil and gas industry.
“Part of the problem is, we’re competing with the oil and gas field and guys that have CDLs (Commercial Driver’s License) that can drive big trucks and make a little bit more money,” Bolyard said.
Organizers were hoping to get four to six people in order to start the school bus driving class as part of their training. Bolyard said 10 people showed up and six applied for the job on the spot.
Before driving off in the magic school bus, applicants need to get their CDL and get their school bus passenger endorsements. All of the training done before drivers are ready to go out on the field takes between three to six months, according to Bolyard. He said he’s hoping those who applied Saturday will be able to be substitute drivers by the end of this school year and help with field trips.
Bolyard added people will also have to go through background checks.
If you are interested in applying, click here.