May 29, 2024

Longer routes and more time on a
bus for students due to driver shortage

Students at West Central Area school board Palmer Bus Service buses last Friday for a ride home. Due to a shortage of drivers, students have longer bus rides as the routes have to be longer. Palmer could use four more routes and drivers.

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Reed Anfinson

Like many districts in rural Minnesota, West Central Area (WCA) schools badly need more bus drivers.

A shortage of drivers means fewer bus routes and longer rides for students. Bus routes can now be 70 to 100 miles long. If a driver misses a day, there is more pressure on the remaining drivers to serve the needs of students. 

Palmer Bus Service contracts with West Central Area schools to provide bus service bringing kids to school and taking them home. It provides service for special trips like going to Andes Tower Hills and to sporting events. It has vans as well as school buses, which help with transporting special education students.

There are currently nine bus routes, but there should be 13, Gary Boots, the site manager for Palmer Bus Service for WCA, told the Herald in an interview last Friday. There are four van drivers when Palmer could use six to serve WCA’s needs.


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