The Boulder Valley College District, dealing with a bus driver scarcity, employed sufficient drivers this summer time to get all college students who registered for bus service to highschool within the fall — however nonetheless expects to name on different transportation workers to fill within the gaps.
Tony Skala, Boulder Valley’s transportation director, stated the district has about 160 bus drivers, however would love about 190.
“We’ve been closely recruiting, and we’ve seen some progress,” he stated. “Issues have improved, however we’re not out of the woods.”
As a cease hole measure, he stated, the district might want to depend on routers, dispatchers, supervisors and mechanics who’ve business licenses to cowl absences. As a result of drivers aren’t totally staffed, the district additionally plans to contract with an outdoor firm to offer busing for athletic journeys.
“There’s in all probability an excellent probability I actually will likely be driving,” Skala stated. “We are going to do no matter it takes to get college students to highschool.”
Boulder Valley officers have stated a nationwide scarcity of business drivers, the excessive price of dwelling in Boulder County and competitors with supply providers are contributing components to the district’s ongoing scarcity. The district is offering signing bonuses and lately bumped the beginning pay to simply over $20 an hour.
The district is utilizing a number of methods to scale back the variety of bus drivers wanted, together with consolidating routes and bus stops. A 12-member transportation advisory board, which included mother and father and faculty workers members, provided feedback because the district labored by means of its choices.
On the secondary degree, the district moved extra of its bus stops to bigger artery streets. On the elementary degree, there are fewer general bus stops, however stops typically stay inside neighborhoods. The general concept, officers stated, is college students come to the bus as an alternative of the bus going to college students.
In evaluating routes, the district discovered seven bus routes that have been contained in the district’s “stroll zone.” These routes probably have been added in newer developments earlier than enhancements like crosswalks have been made to create protected routes to stroll or bike, district officers stated, and so now will be eliminated.
To maintain routes pared right down to solely these which can be wanted, present faculty district households whose kids are eligible for bus service have been requested to register for bus service by means of Infinite Campus by July 1. Those that didn’t meet the deadline can add their kids to a waitlist by means of Infinite Campus, whereas households new to the district or who modified faculties can nonetheless register for bus service.
About 4,200 normal schooling college students requested bus service, district officers stated. Roughly 600 further college students who obtain particular schooling providers additionally will get a bus journey to highschool.
Encouraging college students to stroll and bike to highschool or use public transportation the place accessible is one other district technique.
The district is including transportation pages to highschool web sites that embody details about all these choices, in addition to providing an identical program to attach households for carpools or strolling teams. The district is also enhancing its volunteer crossing guard program and hiring paid crossing guards at sure intersections.
“We’re rethinking transportation and considering by means of all of the choices,” stated Landon Hilliard, Boulder Valley’s Secure Routes to College coordinator.