Missing bus drivers

Missing bus drivers

I don’t care how much you love children or driving or both. The job of school bus driver is a difficult one for most people, not paid very much, and it’s also crazy demanding. 

And we wonder why we’re short of drivers? 

According to the job search website Indeed, in Ontario school bus drivers make $20-odd an hour, a little more in some places, a little less in other places. It’s a part-time job of course, early morning and mid-afternoon rushes. Does it count as a half day? Maybe. Even if they were paid 40 hours a week, that would still be … not much, actually. 

A decent little sideline if you’re retired, I guess. Or if part-time income is all you need. But — and I ask this as gently as I can — who really wants to earn this little money dealing with shouty kids?

A lot of people have been talking about the Great Resignation in the wake of the pandemic. That people who used to be OK tolerating shitty jobs just aren’t willing to tolerate them anymore, and choose to do something else with their lives. Maybe they’re going back to school. Or starting a business. Or growing organic radishes, I don’t know. 

But the fact is, suddenly every employer relying on low-paid labour is struggling to find enough humans to fill their badly paying jobs. In Ottawa, in two weeks, this will mean no school buses for over 2,400 students. There is no way a shortage this size can be remedied in time. I don’t know what you’re supposed to do if you’re one of the families affected and your transportation options are limited. 

And here is what bothers me the most about this story. That once again it’s those with the fewest number of options who will wind up most affected by this shortage. It won’t be the people with the two work-from-home parents who can leisurely afford to drive their offspring to and from school. 

I wish I had something clever to suggest. I’m afraid it’s going to have to get a lot worse before it gets better. People aren’t willing to work difficult jobs for little pay anymore. I don’t think anyone has the right to demand they do.