MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In an urgent need for more school bus drivers, Richfield’s school district calling on Uber and Lyft drivers.
Right now, Richfield Public Schools has 19 bus drivers, when ideally they need 30 to 35 bus drivers to get all of their students to and from school.
It’s pinching resources district wide, with janitors and school administrators stepping up to help drive buses of students. Eric Paulson is a retired assistant principal at Richfield High School, and he is one of the few part-time bus drivers right now.
“Everybody drives a bus, all hands on deck if need be,” Paulson said. “Everybody there is out driving a bus because they have to be. That’s not their primary role, but you have to do what you have to do to get the job done.”
To fulfill their driver quota, Director of Transportation Dan Kretzinger hopes to entice rideshare drivers from the Twin Cities.
(1/3) Lots of great people drive for @Uber & @lyft as a side gig. How about driving a school bus too/instead? MN has a statewide school bus driver shortage and Uber/Lyft drivers could drive either a morning or afternoon bus route before or after they drive for Uber/Lyft. pic.twitter.com/K20KPV6Xc9
— Richfield Public Schools (@Richfield280) October 30, 2019
“We’ve reached out to Facebook groups through Lyft and Uber to see if we could draw some interest from them,” said Kretzinger.
Richfield district bus drivers are offered benefits including medical, dental and a pension plan. The starting salary is $17 per hour.
Edina Public School District is getting creative, too. It’s hard to miss a bus sitting along Highway 100 near Normandale Elementary School, with a large sign asking for more bus drivers.
If you’re intimidated to drive a vehicle as large as a bus, Paulson says don’t be.
“It’s like anything else. It’s practice and repetition, and just being confident in your driving skills,” he said.