Sep 6, 2022 - News

Twin Cities school districts find more bus drivers

Illustration of a pattern of beer school buses.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Local school districts say the bus driver shortage that left kids waiting at stops last fall shouldn't be a problem this year.

What's happening: School districts and bus companies got aggressive this summer in hiring drivers, boosting hourly wages and offering sign-on and retention bonuses.

What they're saying: Minneapolis Public Schools, which has offered $3,000 retention and hiring bonuses, told Axios it's in a better position than last year.

  • "Our current projections across district-hired drivers and companies we contract with show that we should have enough drivers to start the 2022-23 school year strong, although numbers can always change before then," said spokesperson Crystina Lugo-Beach.

Meanwhile: St. Paul boosted driver wages a few bucks an hour — to $21 to $25. That district is also in good shape, said spokesperson Ryan Stanzel.

Kottkes Bus Services, which serves Anoka-Hennepin School District, told WCCO TV that wages are up 23.6% and more drivers are available compared to last year, when fears of contracting COVID-19 on a bus were more heightened.

Yes, but: School transportation is not completely back to normal. MPS is still offering reimbursement to families who provide their own transportation, and St. Paul has expanded its partnership with Metro Transit to use city buses for several high schools.


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