Some Chicago parents are getting $1,000 in Transit, Uber or Lyft grants to get kids to school as labor shortages hit bus drivers
There is a shortage of school bus drivers in the United States.
More than 70 Chicago public school bus drivers quit just before the start of the school year due to immunization requirements.
To help affected students arrange transportation, the school system is giving $1,000 for the first two weeks of school.
About 2,100 Chicago Public School students are stranded without a bus ride to school after 73 drivers quit just before the first day of semester.
This is because CPS requires all employees to be fully vaccinated 15th October it may have trouble replacing bus drivers quickly. For this reason, the school system is offering $1,000 in stipends to parents to use as they wish on transportation such as public transit, Uber, or Lyft during the first two weeks of school. CBS Chicago reported. After that, they get $500 a month.
A parent tells CBS Chicago that she dropped her son off at Chicago’s Southside Occupational Academy before work, but he had to take a $36 Lyft ride home.
“Sunday, the last day before school started, was a mess,” shared another parent, Eric Dechant ABC Chicago. He decided to drive his child and some others to school.
“According to the bus companies, the resignation rush was likely driven by vaccination regulations,” CPS said in a statement. “As a result, the district was unable to provide a bus route to all eligible students in a matter of days, instead being able to accommodate the transportation of approximately 2,100 students in a matter of days.”
As reported by WGN TVCPS said in the statement that 10% of the bus drivers resigned in the week of August 23. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that CPS was informed on Friday about the bus drivers who had resigned from the private companies with which they have contracts, and that CPS “acted immediately” upon hearing this.
“That’s not the responsibility of CPS. We have a contract with those companies,” Lightfoot said said to reporters from the Chicago South Ombudsman on Aug. 30. “We expected them to fulfill their contract.”
Lightfoot said they are in the early stages of talking to Uber and Lyft about getting these students to school and are also looking for vaccinated bus drivers. As the Chicago Sun Times pointed out, Over and lyft both have a minimum age of 18 for unaccompanied drivers. A reporter asked about school volunteers accompanying students, and Lightfoot said, “Once we know what the plan is going to be, we’ll definitely let you know.”
Other counties across the country are considering how to deal with the driver shortage. As Hannah Towey from Insider A charter school in Delaware is reportedly giving parents $700 per child so parents can drive their kids this year.
It’s not just bus drivers. Some districts are too short of teachers. As Insider’s Sarah Jackson Some school districts are reportedly offering sign-on bonuses to recruit new teachers, just as some are doing to attract bus drivers.
A new survey on the lack of bus drivers shows how serious the problem is nationwide. The newly released opinion poll was conducted by the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, and the National School Transportation Association.
The poll found that 78% of respondents said the shortage is getting “much worse” or “slightly worse,” according to the press release. More than half of those surveyed described their deficiency as “serious” or “desperate”.
Mike Martin, executive director of NAPT, said in the Survey press release that the lack of bus drivers “is not a new problem. And it’s not easy to solve either.”
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