St. Paul school leaders say contractor's lack of bus drivers forced shift of students to Metro Transit


September 8, 2021


Many school districts are facing a bus driver shortage this year. In this file photo from August, Minneapolis Public Schools mechanic Sher Yang performed preventative maintenance on buses.

Thousands of St. Paul Public Schools students will have to rely on Metro Transit to get to school after a busing contractor was unable to hire enough drivers, school officials say, further exacerbating the district's shortage.

Districts across the state and country are facing a driver shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Paul was already short 40 drivers for its 275 bus routes, forcing the district to combine some routes and adjust start times at some schools. Then last Wednesday, a contractor informed the district that it would be providing 36 fewer drivers than promised, Superintendent Joe Gothard said at a news conference Tuesday.

"This was news to us, this was a surprise to us, and this caused us to have to come together to develop on the fly a way to get our students to and from school," Gothard said.


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