Bus Driver Shortages Impacting Schools Across Massachusetts


Photo by Kenzie Vetorino

Buses Line Up in preparation for the afternoon rush.

Kenzie Vetorino, Staff Writer


Students wait for the bus in the crisp weather of October with the wind whipping and temperatures changing every day. The bus should’ve been there by now but it never came that day for some reason. Students all across Massachusetts and the country are not being picked up by their buses. This year, the shortage of bus drivers is more pronounced because of COVID-19, said a Five Star Bus Company manager.

These shortages are not affecting students getting to school anymore but it affects the bus drivers. A lot of buses have had to combine routes as it is, but even with route combinations, there have still been many issues. There are not any issues with students getting to school anymore, but it was a problem at the start of the year. “There were issues getting kids to school in the beginning,” said Elizabeth Freedman, the principal of Barnstable High School. 

Athletics and other afterschool activities have been affected by this shortage as well, and bus drivers have had a hard time getting coverage for when they are sick or have appointments. Some bus drivers feel more at risk of getting covid since there are more students on the busses now. “Drivers that do one route have to cover other routes,” said bus driver Lynn Lutz. 

 Lutz has not yet had to combine her routes with other ones but since she is one of the drivers with one route she potentially has to cover others. Lutz drives for three different Barnstable schools this year. The routes for each school take about an hour, not including the time that it takes to get to the different schools. 

Drivers that do one route have to cover other routes

— Lutz

Due to the bus driver shortage, there haven’t been late buses so far this year. But, Freedman sent out an email to students on Sunday, Oct. 17, saying that late buses would be back. However, Instead of leaving around 3 p.m., they will now leave at 4:15 p.m. and students will report to the junior/senior cafeteria if they are done with their after-school activities before then. “With a pass from their teacher/advisor, they can read, relax and do homework until the bus leaves,” said Freedman in her email. 

The late buses are on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday every week. They did not however start the week of Monday, Oct. 18, because there is trouble finding adults to supervise the junior/senior cafeteria until 4:15 p.m. Freedman said the bus drivers are all set now and the late buses will be starting as soon as there are supervisors.