ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester City School District is facing a “transportation crisis” due to a lack of bus drivers, which has taken a toll on students returning to the classroom as the academic year begins this week.
Rochester is not unique in this situation as bus driver shortages are hampering districts nationwide.
That’s why Rep. Joe Morelle (D-25) is calling on U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to waive the Commercial Drivers License (CDL) requirement for school bus drivers.
The Congressman is “urging” Sec. Buttigieg to create a school bus specific license in an effort to help address workforce shortages and ensure students can safely be transported to school.
“States, schools, and employers are being faced with new challenges related to the current labor market which are only making it harder for them to hire qualified applicants,” writes Congressman Morelle in the letter. “As students across the country begin going back to school, we need to make sure that it is easy to hire the necessary workforce to get students into the classroom. Therefore, I urge you to consider waiving the required CDL for school bus drivers to help address the driver shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to the congressman, Rochester and districts across Monroe County are facing a shortage of bus drivers and removing the CDL-license requirement would make more drivers available to fill the need quickly.
Rep. Morelle says CDL requirements pertaining to long-haul truckers are onerous and irrelevant to a school bus driver.
According to the congressman, while different states, schools, and employers may ask for different requirements to drive a school bus, employers in all states will look for a CDL. Rep. Morelle says Sec. Buttigieg should pursue the school bus specific license that would waive the repair-oriented, under-the-hood vehicle inspection requirements of the CDL. He says eliminating this requirement would allow more people to apply for these positions.