TUSD bus driver shortage continues

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 6:49 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The bus driver shortage with Tucson Unified School District continues. In August, bus routes were cut, and parents were left scrambling to get their kids to school.

As the year comes to an end, the need for drivers is still great.

“At the beginning of the year, we were looking to hire around 70 to 80 drivers if we wanted to cover all routes,” said TUSD routing manager Martha Zamora.

Zamora said a total of 250 bus drivers are needed to cover all TUSD’s routes. Right now, the district only has 155 to 160 drivers.

At the beginning of the school year, TUSD created busing hubs. In many cases, parents had to drive their children to a bus stop further away.

“For now, in the areas where we do not have transportation, we have hubs along with Sun Tran. Families are able to use Sun Tran and that is free,” said Zamora.

Jose Martinez, whose daughter goes to Pueblo High School, says she has to take several buses, including Sun Tran, to get to school.

“As a parent, you worry. Especially in the beginning. We do not know who is on the bus. It could be a bad person or something,” said Martinez.

Martinez’s daughter takes two city buses to and from school.

“It takes about an hour and a half to get home.”

His daughter now has a cell phone along with an app where Martinez can track exactly where she is at.

Luckily, he said, her route is not going to last long.

“She is going to be taking Driver’s Ed during winter break. So, we will have to show her how to drive and get her a car,” he said.

TUSD is still looking for 50 to 60 bus drivers.

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