LAUSD must continue hiring bus drivers, end students’ exhaustion
November 17, 2021
My alarm chimes at 5 a.m., I brush my teeth, get dressed, make my lunch and arrive at my bus stop at 6:20 a.m. I have to endure this early schedule due to the national bus driver shortage.
With a bus driver shortage plaguing U.S schools, students across the country have been subjected to tiresome ramifications. At Daniel Pearl Magnet High School, four bus routes have now been cut down to three and my peers and I have been feeling the effects. Now I get home at the latest I ever have before and it’s cut into the time I use to do homework, work for my internship and sleep.
Even though I live in Gardena and go to school in Van Nuys, my bus schedule was never a problem for me, nor did it ever affect my work schedule until this year. Before this change, I used to get back to my bus stop around 5 p.m. Then I’d get my homework done and be in bed at 10 p.m. to get my eight hours of sleep.
Now, I don’t arrive at my bus stop after school until 5:40 p.m. With a bed time of 9 p.m. dragging down my feet, I often get less than seven hours of sleep each night. This leaves me with no time to eat breakfast in the mornings and less time to do homework at night. As a student in Advanced Placement classes and an intern at Inner-CityArts, I need this time to keep up with my workload.
During quarantine, the Los Angeles Unified School District lost an unbelievable number of bus drivers due to things like the labor shortage, according to an article from KTLA 5, the inability to find and employ people with a commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. When the school year of Fall 2021 began, LAUSD reported that over 200 bus routes were consolidated.
With a mere three routes left at DPMHS, the number of students on my bus has tripled, creating a more uncomfortable bus ride to and from school. According to a survey by The Pearl Post, 43.8% of students’ bus rides are longer than previous years. Those who get on the bus first in the mornings have had their bus ride time increased the most—me being one of them.
Luckily, there have been efforts made to hire new bus drivers and prevent any more from being lost. According to an article from KTLA 5, districts have been “offering higher bonuses, providing the training needed to get a commercial driver’s license and increasing hourly pay to attract more drivers.” According to an LAUSD spokesperson, the district is making an effort to recruit more bus drivers by promotion on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Indeed.com.
Hopefully, these steps in the right direction will bring in more bus drivers by the spring semester and students like myself won’t have to face the consequences any longer.