The Impact of the Bus Driver Shortage Crisis


Jeff Hager of WMAR

The bussing shortage situation is a crisis rippling across the US

Colin Seibert

Are you experiencing bus trouble? It is no secret that bus shortages are taking place everywhere in America. Many are wondering why there are so many bus driver shortages? Some say it’s due to low pay and high retirement rates while others blame it on a lack of discipline of the children riding the busses.

According to Erin Appel who represents the Maryland School Bus Contractor Association. “The average starting salary for school bus drivers is considerably less than any other commercial driver license holder-including those who operate dump trucks or deliver for Amazon or DoorDash.”

In a recent report by Baltimore’s WMAR a Baltimore driver shared, “Though those concerns (money) play a concern the main reason for wanting out of driving is discipline. One of the issues is that fact that we have no control over any kind of discipline that happens.” Misbehavior and lack of discipline then creates a safety challenge for school bus drivers.

Whether we want to blame lack of discipline or funding, the fact remains that the bus driver shortage is impacting students everywhere, including in our own schools and neighborhoods.

On September 27-30, due to a shortage of drivers my own bus had to take a different group of kids home first before my current bus group. This left me and my fellow bus riders waiting 25-30 minutes after school for the bus to return to take us home which then resulted in us getting home a good half hour later than normal.

Students share my frustration with bus shortages. Kenwood junior Sam T shares, “The bus shortage situation is affecting the students after school activities. We may like to go home and relax before we have to head to other activities.” Now some are faced with limited time in between arriving home to relax or complete homework before rushing off to their evening activities.

At the high school level though, it’s not just evening activities students need to rush off to but a job! Kenwood junior Dwight shares, “I have been riding the bus all my life and a late bus is the worst because I must go to work after school and need to get home to get to work on time!”

It is not just students frustrated with the bus driving shortage crisis. It’s created struggles for parents of particularly younger children as well if they’re waiting for a late bus in the morning or taking their child to school in place of a late bus. Due to some busses making multiple runs, some students are impacted by arriving late to school and missing crucial first instructions for the day.

This leaves many from school officials to families questioning what we could do to fix this problem. Though the first thought is always more money and better benefits, we can all do our part by appreciating those transporting students to and from school.

As Kenwood Principal reminds his students, “As a collective school, we often communicate the message of just be nice, take care of each other and our community. We encourage our students to do this by being sure they show their appreciation, and one example is encouraging our students to take care of their bus drives and show their appreciation for getting them to and from school safely on a daily basis.”





McDowell, Ashley. “Bus Driver Explains why Maryland Schools are Sweating Last Minute Bus Shortages.” WMAR. 16 August 2022. Web Accessed 27 September 2022.

Shwe, Elizabeth. “Lawmakers Discuss Challenges Causing Bus Driver Shortages Across Maryland.” Maryland Matters. 21 November 2021. Web Accessed 27 September 2022.