Many communities across the province are facing a shortage of school bus drivers and Sudbury is no exception.
Right now, drivers are being brought in from other communities to help get students safely to school.
Maggy Burke is a standby school bus driver every day, picking up routes whendrivers are not available.
"I like interacting with the parents, the kids, they are little jewels. They really are. I like the challenge and that’s why I drive standby. I never cover the same run over and over again because I don’t like repetition," said Burke.
There is currently a shortage of school bus drivers in Sudbury for a number of reasons.
"In the past, we used to have two major clienteles: one was mothers with children and the other one was retirees. What we have seen is that there are two-income families these days, it’s hard to live on one income, and people are retiring much later than they were before. So, those two major target markets are virtually non-existent anymore," said the general manager of Leuschen Transportation, Charles Breault.
The shortage is causing delays getting students to school on time.
"We do remind parents to always verify on our website and look at the delays both morning and afternoon. We have had to double up on some of our runs, so one driver will finish one run and then do another driver's run, so we have seen delays of up to over an hour," said Renee Boucher, of the Sudbury Student Services Consortium which oversees the transportation of over 20,000 students.
On average, school bus drivers work about three hours a day and get paid around $17.70 an hour. They get the same time off as students and some bus companies now offer benefits.
Maggy Burke feels it’s a rewarding career.
"Nine times out of 10 we are the first happy person they may see. It takes two seconds to say 'good morning sunshine,'" said Burke.
The shortage is so bad in Sudbury right now, bus drivers from southern Ontario and Timmins are being brought in and their lodging paid for, so they can fill in the gaps and help get students to school.
For more information on applying for a school bus driver job, click here.