Bus driver shortage in Pittsylvania County


Christopher Flores-Bravo, Features Editor

For the last five years, the United States has had a shortage of bus drivers. Students across the country have been affected by this event: Pittsylvania County is no exception. Students at Tunstall have seen the outcome of this unfortunate event and are impacted by it on a daily basis. Many students are left in the vestibule waiting for a bus to complete a full route before it can return to take them home.

A big portion of students at Tunstall ride a bus to and from school, and a number of them are affected directly by this problem. Sophomore Lesly Tovar is one of these students. Her bus driver has been unable to drive the bus. Instead, she has to ride a different bus every day in the morning and in the afternoon. 

Although she arrives at school on time in the mornings, “I get home an hour late,” Tovar said. The late bus bothers her because she wants to get home to her dog, Bingo, and her brother and sister. Likewise, Junior Ashley Villa Villalobos is impacted by this shortage too. It is not on a daily basis, but her bus driver is unable to complete his usual route on time. Without any substitute bus drivers, she has to wait an extra 30 minutes to an hour at school before she can go home. “[This] bothers me because I get to work late. That really sucks,” Villalobos said.

The lack of bus drivers has not been a problem before; however, it has recently become a problem due to all the current bus drivers retiring during the pandemic. Pittsylvania County has attempted to increase the number of bus drivers by talking to local residents, but they have not succeeded. Mr. Echols, the assistant principal in charge of buses, said that the likely reason that no one wants to apply and become a bus driver is due to “[The] lower pay, testing and training, and the difficult certification,” Echols said.

Even with these difficult requirements, many teachers have taken the initiative and volunteered to drive a bus to help aid this problem. Ms. Dallas and Mr. Richardson are bus drivers from the high school; Mr. Dallas, Ms. Kroffe, and substitute driver Ms. Bennett are bus drivers from the middle school. With their help, the bus driver shortage has been easier for Tunstall.

Although students aren’t able to provide much help, they can help by spreading the word out to anyone who may be interested. Anyone who is interested in this position can visit the Pittsylvania County Schools website, click on the job tab, and click on either the ‘Vacancies’ or ‘Substitutes Needed’ link to the left to find current job listings in the county.