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Connecticut bus driver shortage continues

Last year, DATTCO was short about 50 drivers, and this year that number has jumped closer to 80.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — Kids are heading back to school and there are concerns over what it will take to get them there. 

Bryony Chamberlain has spent her career getting busses where they need to go and she says this year is especially tough. 

“It is easy to fill the full-time positions, the part-time school bus positions are the hardest to fill on the lot, so we are really struggling to provide the home to school services,” Chamberlain said. 

Ideally, Chamberlain would oversee some 1,200 school bus drivers around the state from the DATTCO bus yard in New Britain.

Last year, the company was short about 50 drivers and this year that number has jumped closer to 80. 

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“Covid certainly played a factor, we have a lot of older people driving with us so some of them did decide to move away from the industry," Chamberlain added. "We lost a large number of people to that and that was very sad for us."

AAA is also eyeing the problem and alerting parents of what the shortage means.

Busses may be on the road earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon to accommodate longer routes and that drivers will need to be responsible through that extended stretch.

“Even though a lot has changed, what has not changed Is the responsibility of the drivers to obey the traffic laws/7 look out for the school buses to look out for the pedestrians the students walking to school and more kids on their bikes,” Amy Parmenter with AAA said. 

Javiar Burgos has been driving students for years and is hoping others will join him to help meet the demand.

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“It is the service that we give to the kids, the service that we give to the community, but most of all it is a flexible job, I can come here to work, but also do service in my community, spend more time with my family,” he told FOX61. 

Officials remind residents and families to remember their manners when drivers are passing by or picking up kids. 

“Please be kind to the drivers, these people work really hard, they are the first adult to interact with your child’s, they can make your child’s day,” Chamberlain addded. 

Starting pay for drivers ranges at DATTCO ranges from $18-25 an hour.

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