Categorized | News

Livingstone Range recruiting bus drivers

Livingstone Range School Division needs an influx of drivers to keep the wheels on the school buses going round and round.

The school division is embarking on an aggressive recruiting drive to prepare for the retirement of its regular route drivers.

“Our entire driving force is getting closer and closer to retirement age,” transportation department assistant Kristi Edwards said. “We really do need an influx of younger individuals who are willing to drive.”

Edwards made a presentation to trustees at the Nov. 10 school board meeting at the G.R. Davis Administration Building.

“School bus drivers are the people who transport children to their future,” Edwards said. “Bus drivers are the ones who get the majority of our students to school every day. Their importance has to be at the forefront because if we don’t have bus drivers, we don’t have students.

Edwards told trustees that 55 per cent of employers have recruited bus drivers in the past two years.

Twenty per cent of those employers experienced difficulties recruiting drivers.

“We know through our industry that this is only going to increase,” Edwards said. “As many of our bus drivers begin to age and retire the hiring pool is going to shrink because there’s going to be more and more demand.”

Edwards provided a breakdown of bus driver staffing in each of the communities.

In Nanton, where there are seven regular routes, the average age of drivers is 57 years.

There are three spare drivers in Nanton, with only one prepared to become a regular route driver.

In Stavely there are four regular and two express routes. The average age of drivers is just under 60 years.

Neither of the two spare drivers in Stavely are interested in taking over a regular route.

There are seven regular bus routes in Claresholm, where drivers have an average age of just over 55 years.

Of the four spare drivers in Claresholm, only one is waiting for a regular route.

In Granum there are two regular and one express routes. The average age of drivers is 60 years.

There are no spare drivers for Granum buses.

In Fort Macleod, where there are six regular routes, the average age of drivers is 63.5 years.

There are four spare drivers in Fort Macleod, and no one is waiting for a regular route.

The 10 regular route drivers in Pincher Creek have an average age of 53 years. The two spare drivers are not interested in a regular route.

Drivers of the four regular routes in Lundbreck have an average age of 58 years. There are no spare drivers.

The seven regular route drivers in Crowsnest Pass have an average age of 56.

Two of the five spare drivers in Crowsnest Pass are waiting for regular routes.

The school division has 17 male and 30 female bus drivers. The average age is 57.76 years.

The school division is building a brand for its transportation department.

People considering taking on a route will be invited to a ride-along on a school bus.

The department will ask Livingstone Range employees to make referrals on potential bus drivers.

The department will also place ads in newspapers and mail a flyer to MD of Willow Creek residents, who are likely to already hold Class 2 or 3 licences.

There will be a social media campaign, and promotion through Chambers of Commerce and faith groups.

The final possibility is billboards and lawn signs if other methods do not attract sufficient numbers of applicants.