By: Yitzy Cohen – Lakewood, NJ
This year has been like no other. A bus driver shortage has affected us all leaving thousands stranded, quite literally, needing a way to transport their children to and from school. Even those spared, are facing unprecedented traffic jams.
The busing crisis is a national issue, with New Jersey getting hit pretty hard. But Lakewood the hardest from all. At the end of September, Politico ran an article detailing the dysfunction children across New Jersey are facing due to busing issues. “A review of local news stories, district websites and parent Facebook groups reveals kids in Glassboro, Camden, Paterson, Deptford, Jersey City, Wayne, Toms River and dozens of other districts have been left waiting for hours or were never picked up at all.” the piece read.
In Lakewood, the issue has gotten so out of control that a popular girls school had to shut its doors this past Friday due to ‘lack of drivers’. Others had 11AM dismissal, leaving kids with an hour and half of school, so drivers can tackle multiple schools.
Some people feel that if bus companies would pay more and create a positive environment with encouragement and bonus opportunities, the issue would be resolved. Others say it has to do with government programs which have been expanded due to Covid-19. ‘It really doesn’t pay to work when I collect so much from staying home,’ said a Jackson resident. This creates a ‘lazy’ environment where only higher paid jobs are sought after, to make it ‘worth it’.
Regardless, local Schools have started the process of receiving their own buses, parents are working on obtaining CDL’s (which is shockingly easy to obtain) and in a short time many parents will be hitting the roads in their new vehicles. One school already had 8 parents that agreed to take the training.
Kudos to those schools and parents!
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