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Hillsborough parents concerned with overcrowded school buses due to driver shortage

Posted at 4:46 PM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 16:50:42-04

BRANDON, Fla. — A bus driver shortage is causing problems on some routes and some Hillsborough County parents said they’re concerned with their kids riding on overcrowded school buses.

Rebecca Jones said her son sent her a picture on Thursday morning of him on a crowded school bus.

"He texted it to me and said, 'I’ve got nowhere to sit on the bus, I’m sitting in the aisle,'" said Jones.

Her son Jacob is a senior at Bloomingdale High School in Brandon and said lately his bus has been overcrowded and they hardly make it to school on time.

"Me and like three or four other people had to just kneel down in the aisle or like halfway off a seat," said Jacob.

Jones said she’s aware of the bus driver shortage but wants something more done to get good drivers hired to keep kids safe.

"Driving down the main streets, the bus is going like 45 miles an hour and if something happened, what would happen to me and all the other people kneeling in the aisle," said Jacob.

The Hillsborough County Schools district spokesperson saw the picture and pointed out that there appears to be an empty seat next to one of the students, but did say buses have been crowded due to lack of drivers.

HCSD gave us this statement:
"Our incredible bus drivers are working as hard as they can amid a labor shortage, oftentimes running double and even triple routes to ensure students get to school on time. This particular area currently has 21 vacant routes, causing drivers to have larger loads than normal. We have been transparent with parents regarding how this shortage has impacted parts of our area, and we continue to aggressively market to recruit and retain more talented bus drivers. This issue is not unique to Hillsborough County. It is occurring around the country, and we will continue to make recruiting and marketing open positions a priority."

Jones said she is hoping for more incentives like better pay, for bus drivers.

"They’re responsible for a lot," said Jones. "They’re taking care of our children, and I think we should take better care of them in return."