Need a job? Ottawa region facing severe school bus driver shortage
School bus companies in the Ottawa region are facing a severe shortage of drivers and the problem is only expected to increase.
There are 52 permanent positions available for drivers in the region and it’s causing children to be late to school and late coming home.
Andrew Bradley, general manager of M.L. Bradley Ltd., says every employee in his school bus company, with the exception of a few dispatchers, has had to get behind the wheel.
Bradley says he’s looking for 10 bus drivers and blames a fairly new policy allowing larger companies to enter the school bus market and more effectively lure drivers.
“It's created a very volatile market and it’s been disturbing,” he told CTV Ottawa. “We've been fighting it for the last 10 years.”
The shortage is expected to get worse as many of the older bus drivers head south for the winter months.
As a result, bus companies are pushing for young moms like Olivia Salvatori-Swant to become drivers. She’s allowed to bring her baby on the bus to save on daycare costs.
“I enjoy it. I love all the little kids on the bus,” she said. “I’m allowed to bring (my son) on the bus with me, which saves about $1,000 a month.”
This problem is not exclusive to Ottawa. Last year the provincial ombudsman stepped in to address complaints of a driver shortage in Toronto.
“There is a shortage of drivers in almost every transportation industry right now,” said Vicky Kyriaco, general manager of the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority. “We’re trying to figure out how to make this job more competitive and more appealing than some of the other driving jobs that are out there.”
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr