As we enter the third year of the COVID pandemic, a nationwide shortage of qualified school bus drivers has created havoc, with parents and school districts struggling to get students safely to and from school. Even with many school districts offering bonuses, increased pay, and paid training for new drivers, the shortages show no sign of abating in the near future. In addition, drivers having to call in because they have contracted COVID also contributes to the problem.
Areas across Texas are reporting shortages of these essential workers; Fort Bend School District, for example, had 100 vacancies in early January. In one San Antonio district, drivers are making “double runs.” A school system in Maryland has even requested help from the National Guard, while The U.S. Department of Transportation is temporarily easing up on some of the requirements for new school bus drivers
Families using Taxi Mom are fortunate because they do not rely on public school transport – each child in our subscription based model has a guaranteed seat – and we have experienced minimal impact on operations due to the pandemic. Early on, we implemented policies to reflect the CDC’s recommendations. We also have backup drivers ready to step in when a driver needs to be off work.
Taxi Mom developed strict COVID-19 protocols that we implemented across our company. Our drivers and riders must wear masks when on the van, and our drivers perform a temperature check as each child enters the van each morning. We ask parents to keep children at home if they are ill, to safeguard both the other children and our drivers. Since the pandemic started, we sanitize each van after the day’s route end. Our drivers carry sanitation supplies with them, including masks for any child who forgets.
As a small business, Taxi Mom has the flexibility to respond more quickly to our community’s needs. We want to be there for you and your family. Thank you for trusting us to provide safe, dependable transportation for your precious children if you are already a customer. If you know of a family struggling to find a ride, please encourage them to contact us and review our current service areas. If we do not have a route to their school at this time, please use our Suggest a School feature on the website!