Long Island parents brace for possible first day of school delays due to bus driver shortage

Long Island parents are preparing for the possibility of delays on the first day of school due to a shortage of school bus drivers.

Robert Quinn, chief operating officer of WE Transport in Plainview, has warned Long Island school districts could experience delays due to a shortage of bus drivers. . He says the shortage is primarily due to COVID-19 concerns.

“It’s been tough. We’ve had a driver shortage here on Long Island for several years now,” he says.

Delia Donohue of Bethpage wonders if the bus will come for her 7th grade daughter on her first day of school.

“This is a very important job and we need more bus drivers. Their lack will be a major concern for many parents,” she says. I’m worried because if I don’t have the support at home to get my kids on the bus, I’ll have to find other ways to get them on the bus.”

Syosset’s Noor Mayan says his family is prepared for potential challenges.

“We expect to be late or not show up at all. If the bus driver doesn’t show up, we already have a plan,” he says.

Quinn said WE Transport is doing everything it can to minimize disruption to the 1,300 routes it serves in Long Island and New York City. The company recruits and attracts new drivers by increasing wages, benefits and offering incentives such as sign-on and referral bonuses.

“I think it will be a challenge. We currently have 40 trainees on our program and will start in mid-September. We are working closely with school districts and other bus companies to mitigate these challenges. I do,” says Quinn.

Queens’ David Velazquez, retired, came to WE Transport on Wednesday for an interview after hearing about job openings and benefits.

“They have a lot of decent perks that I like. One is the sign-on bonus,” he says.

WE Transport says it has about 40 trainees, but between fingerprinting, background checks, CDL license acquisition and training, it takes 4-5 bus drivers to get on the route. It takes weeks.

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