Prince George's County school bus driver job fair gets strong turn-out

There was a strong turn-out Wednesday at the school bus driver job fair in Prince George’s County. Prince George’s County Public Schools says it’s still in need of nearly 200 drivers less than two weeks before the first day of school. 

 The lines at the job fair stretched down the hallway of the Skyline Administration Building in Suitland. 

 "It’s a lot of people," said Ernest Murphy, a PGCPS bus driver trainer. "Last time we had 15, 20 maybe 30 people. Today it’s a hundred or above if I would make a count. They’re still coming in." 

 Sharma Johnson said she heard about the job fair hours earlier on FOX 5.

READ MORE: Prince George’s County school bus driver fair aims to fill nearly 200 vacancies

 "I took down the information and I decided to share it with all of my friends who live in the area," Johnson said. "And then I thought, ‘Why don’t I check out this opportunity for myself as well?’" 

 The bus driver shortage is not new in the county, it’s been a struggle to staff drivers for years. 

 Just before the pandemic FOX 5 talked to a mom who waited an hour for her kindergartner to get home and another who said her daughter was nearly three hours late to school after a substitute driver missed her stop.

 At the end of 2019, the district was short about 100 drivers. Now the shortage is nearly double that. 

 Murphy said the job fair should result in dozens of hires, although training will still take four to six weeks. 

 "I think we should be able to put a substantial dent into our numbers," Murphy said. 

 PGCPS spokeswoman Meghan Gebreselassie said the district has plans in place to deal with the shortage. 

 "We were in a similar position last school year and our transportation team leveraged strategies including condensing the number of routes and drivers taking on additional routes to maintain on-time pickup and drop-off," said Gebreselassie in an emailed statement. 

The district says bus drivers will start at $20.32 per hour and jobs will include health, dental, and vision insurance as well as retirement benefits.

Applicants must meet these qualifications: 

  • Must be at least 21 years of age with a valid Driver's License to Apply
  • At least three years of driving history
  • Communicate effectively in English
  • Ability to obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), Class A or B with passenger endorsement or Class B Learner's Permit with passenger (P) and school bus (S) endorsements
  • No more than two current points on their driving record. No more than 3 points issued in the past 10 years
  • Satisfactory past driving record
  • Pass a DOT Physical Examination
  • Ability to meet special training and qualifications determined by PGCPS