Tuesday January 12, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
Today Route #13 was not so lucky. There was no driver for the Sooke School District (SD62) school bus route that serves Dunsmuir Middle School in Colwood. A banner notice was posted on the www.sd62.bc.ca website to let families know, in addition to email notices to registered riders on that route.
“We have been short on qualified bus drivers since the beginning of the school year,” says SD62 Communications Manager Lindsay Vogan.
“It’s not unique to our district. It seems that most districts are experiencing the same difficulties,” says Vogan, who adds that the SD62 school board office continues to advertise and recruit. Currently there are positions for Driver as well as On-Call Driver on their employment page.
In a pro-active effort to be streamlined during COVID, SD62 bus routes were changed for the 2020-2021 school year. SD62 has schools in Langford, Colwood and Sooke but some SD62 students live beyond those borders including in Highlands, East Sooke, Metchosin, west of Sooke out to Port Renfrew, and in parts of View Royal.
As an example, Route #13 last year might have gone to multiple schools but this year services only Dunsmuir Middle School which is at 3341 Painter Road in Colwood (Principal Mark Kaercher).
Most of the spare buses are being used on regular routes now. That includes calling upon casual and on-call drivers in their driver pool.
SD62 considers that reasons for the shortage of drivers include having to work their day around a split shift (early morning and then later in the afternoon), lifestyle unsuitability of casual/on-call, and the COVID-exposure conditions on the buses.
The rate for a bus driver in SD62 is $25.13 per hour.
===== About the writer:
Island Social Trends editor Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR has been covering news of the SD62 school district at the board and committee level since 2014.