APS experiencing bus driver shortage to start the year

Updated: 08/20/2014 9:03 PM | Created: 08/20/2014 8:58 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Albuquerque Public Schools is experiencing a shortage of bus drivers to start the school year; the number of drivers is down ten percent since last year.

APS allegedly didn't learn of the shortage of drivers until after the school year started, but the district is not fully to blame for its lack of drivers.

That's because the district isn't in charge of hiring bus drivers – that responsibility lies with the bus companies it contracts with.

"It's up to our contractors to stay on top of that and to be aware of those situations," said Ruben Hendrickson, the district's acting superintendent. "We're working right now again with contractors to try and hire as many people as we can. I'd ask [parents] to be patient for the time being."

Hendrickson says he thinks it might be a few weeks until contractors can hire enough drivers.

One bus company cites a lack of funding as the reason why it didn't renew its contract with APS, but the problem is that the district just bought 18 school buses from that company.

"In some instances, if the economics don't work out, and as they pull out of the business we may not have a choice but to become part of the business, or to get into the business of bus driving and bus services," Hendrickson said.

The district is already bringing students to and from the East Mountains with the buses it bought. 

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