Photo: Portland Press Herald/Press Herald via Getty Images
Photo: Portland Press Herald/Press Herald via Getty Images

School bus companies facing driver shortage nationwide

School has begun in several states, and many bus companies nationwide said they face a driver shortage, USA Today reported.

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Twenty-two percent called the shortage "severe," and 5 percent said they are "desperate" to find drivers, according to a School Bus Fleet magazine survey of the nation's 50 largest school bus operators, the York (Pa.) Daily Record reported.

The process of becoming a school bus driver requires at least 14 hours of classroom training, at least six hours of on-the-road training and passing numerous written exams and a driving test, the Daily Record reported.

Applicants must also pass a drug test and physical, criminal history checks by the FBI and Pennsylvania State Police, and a child abuse history check.

Starting pay at the 50 largest companies rose to $16.90 an hour in 2017, up from $16.24 in 2016, according to School Bus Fleet.

Low salaries and a schedule that requires working split morning and afternoon shifts are among the biggest challenges companies face.

"Those two issues can be a hurdle," Nicole Schlosser, School Bus Fleet's managing editor, told USA Today.

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