COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Richland School District Two is spreading the word about its bus driver shortage and urging those looking for jobs to consider getting behind the wheel.

Many districts in the Midlands are struggling with a shortage of bus drivers. With the return of face-to-face learning, few drivers are responsible for large groups of students.

As drivers make more trips due to social distancing requirements on buses, district officials say many parents choose to take their children by car, further exacerbating traffic problems.

“They do double runs and they get home later,” said Jodi Regis, Richland Two’s bus safety training manager.

Regis has been driving buses for 26 years and she says it’s the kids who keep her coming back year after year.

“When they come to you and show you how much they love and respect you as a driver, that’s the rewarding part,” said Regis.

It’s about having a positive impact on children, says driver Grace Hayes.

“Helping a child along the way is our goal,” said Hayes.

“Pilots are great role models,” said Regis. “So it’s that extra parent, the extra person to be able to tell the child, and we need people like that.”

This weekend alone, thanks to word of mouth from current drivers, the district attracted 40 new candidates for potential bus drivers.

An influx of new drivers should help reduce team stress and traffic for everyone in the area, according to district coordinators.

The district has put together a list of incentives to attract more applicants:

  • The starting salary is $ 16.36 with a minimum guarantee of seven hours per day for 183 days of work per year. Additional salary can be earned through field trips, after-school programs and more.
  • South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority medical and dental benefits and pension plans.
  • Login Bonus – In the first year, new, inexperienced drivers can earn up to $ 1,500. New experienced drivers with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) can earn up to $ 2,250. New drivers with additional credentials can earn up to $ 3,000. Richland Two offers paid CDL training to interested candidates.
  • Performance Bonus – Drivers with perfect attendance and no at-fault accident can earn $ 100 per month up to $ 1,000 per year.
  • Longevity Retention Incentive – To keep drivers trained at Richland Two, the district is offering these annual incentives: drivers with zero to three years of experience will receive $ 500; four to seven years of experience $ 750; eight to 10 years of experience $ 1,000; 11 to 15 years of experience $ 1,250; 16 to 20 years of experience $ 1,500; and 20 years and more of experience $ 2,000.
  • There is a critical need for school bus drivers across the state and country. The leaders of Richland Two have designed this highly competitive salary and incentive program to address this need which has a direct impact on the district’s ability to provide top-notch teaching and learning services to students.

Applicants must be 21 years of age or older, have a high school diploma or GED, and pass background checks.

For more information, call 803-419-2524.

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