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Tulsa Public Schools face bus driver shortage, doubling passengers as students go back to class

Posted at 5:50 PM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 18:50:58-04

TULSA, Okla. -- It's the first week of school in Tulsa, and the the district is about 20 drivers short.

Staff said the schedule is a little different, and buses have 15 to 20 more students than usual.

"We have to double up routes when we can, all the terminal managers, the supervisers, we're out driving routes too just to make sure we're doing our best to get them picked up on time," terminal manager Carol Reese said.

Every morning this week seats were full. Two to a bench for high schoolers, and three for the younger grades.

"We're already short people and then we have drivers call in and they're ill, that makes it even worse. So then we have to figure out how we're covering for the 20 people... but when drivers call in covering for their routes also," Reese said.

None of these buses have air conditioning except for those for special needs. Drivers said with packed buses and sometimes lengthy drives it can create an uncomfortable environment. But many continue, with the goal of serving kids.

"It's really good for me to see them grow. I have some that started as early as preschool and they're sixth graders. It's really good to see them growing up and watching them along the way," Misty Harding said.

Harding said in her almost ten years with the district, she's never seen a shortage this severe.

Despite a pay increase this year, staff tell 2 Works for You people often go through the training to become professional bus drivers, then find another job elsewhere.

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