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Navigating the School Commute: Exploring Alternatives Amidst Bus Driver Shortages

Published on March 7, 2024

For most parents across the U.S., 6:30 - 8:30 A.M. is crunch time. This crucial two-hour window involves packing lunches, ringing alarm clocks, and the general chaos of getting their kids up and ready to start their journey to school, often just before they need to head to work. It's the morning routine before the morning routine. 

With no time to waste, some parents rush their kids to bus stops to avoid traffic, knowing the tried-and-true big yellow bus should be on its way to deliver their kids to school safely. Unfortunately, some schools may no longer have their school bus available.

Today, there is a severe shortage of bus drivers. Citing low pay and the inability to offer full-time employment, the school bus driver is one of many occupations affected by the great resignation happening all across the country.

School bus drivers remain a vital part of the education system. Roughly half of school children rely on bus services to get to school. With this service suddenly gone, parents, kids, school officials, and even members of local governments are devising alternative ways to get their kids to school.  

"Parents, kids, school officials, and even members of local governments are devising alternative ways to get their kids to school."

Below are some ideas school business planners and alike can consider when creating safe transportation options for students impacted by a lack of bus drivers. 

  1. 3rd Party Transportation Services: Services like HopSkipDrive offer parents the comfort of a private drive from drivers with over 5+ years of experience working in childcare and are certified through a safety certification test.

  2. Parent Volunteers: Parents able and willing to assist their child’s school can become a volunteer driver. These parents must first complete an application and follow any other guidelines outlined by their school (typically schools require the completion of a safety course as well as a current tuberculosis test). For example purposes, attached is Santa Monica High School’s application.

  3. Ride Stipend: Public schools across the country are taking drastic measures in getting parents to take their children to school personally (the morning commute before the morning commute). Schools in Delaware are even offering parents a $700 stipend to pay for commuting expenses throughout the school year.  

While these options provide potential solutions, there can be insurance considerations with any alternative transportation options. Before recommending solutions to parents or implementing at the district level, it is always a best practice to discuss proposed solutions with your insurance consulting team. At Keenan, we collaborate with several subject matter experts in school districts and can provide valuable insight and key solutions to keeping your school running smoothly.  

To read more about issues impacting schools and businesses and how our insurance expertise can benefit your organization, visit or contact a member of your account team. 

Tags: property & casualty

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