MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A bus driver shortage has caused Marion County officials to take their recruiting efforts to communities who need help the most.
County officials told News 6 they hope by going directly to communities in need, they can attract more drivers to fill vacancies.
“We typically experience some shortage on and off in the year, but catching up since the pandemic has been a struggle,” said Rebecca Rora, director of transportation of Marion County.
Rora says Marion County Schools are short 18 bus drivers.
This is around the same number of bus drivers the county said they needed at the beginning of the school year, back in August.
Rora explains that’s why the county is conducting a “Bus Driver Blitz” operation by bringing mobile units to the south and southwest end of Marion County where there is a more critical need for drivers.
This gap in vacancies has caused quite a strain on current bus drivers.
“We’re not always meeting that on-time schedule, but we are going back out and doubling up routes to get the children on campus,” Rora said.
Applicants can use laptops on the bus and talk with current bus drivers about the position.
It’s where News 6 talked to Marissa Mobley, who says she heard about the need for more drivers and decided to apply.
“Not saying that I wanted to be a bus driver, but I like kids … I think it’ll be a fun experience operating one of these. I been on a bus all my life, you know while in school and what not, but other than that I think it would be a fun experience,” Mobley said.
An applicant can expect to make $15.65 an hour as well as benefits.
The county says there is a mixture of full- and part-time positions.
And this won’t be Marion County Schools’ last recruitment event. Officials said interested applicants can expect more after the winter break.
News 6 will relay the new dates once they have been released.