School bus driver shortage forcing districts to innovate

Recruitment efforts are ongoing for some North Texas school districts dealing with school bus driver shortages. Safety remains the major transportation focus.

Cedar Hill, Texas – Some school districts in North Texas are finding new ways to deal with transportation challenges this new school year. Many school districts are grappling with the reality of bus driver shortages.

“I’ve been doing it for 20 years. And so, it’s natural,” said veteran school bus driver Reggie Payton. He arrived early at Cedar Hill ISD’s transportation yard to complete his pre-route inspection.

Peyton knows that the students of Cedar Hill ISD depend on him to get to and from school safely every day.

“You just try to build a relationship. Try to brighten their day. Try to start them for that morning,” Payton said.

The start of this new school year has already been an interesting one for many bus drivers and school districts.

“We are currently facing a driver shortage,” said Jonquez Moore, the director of transportation at Cedar Hill ISD.

The Southern Dallas County School District could use approximately 12 additional drivers. Moore said a shortage of school bus drivers is a trend in districts across the country.

“There have been days when we have had to consolidate some routes. We have had to consolidate some routes as a whole. We’ve had to have other drivers cover routes in addition to their routes,” Moore explained.

One thing that is helping Cedar Hill ISD is staggered timing to ensure timely arrivals for elementary, middle and high schools.

Additionally, the Department of Transportation is conducting proactive safety measurements this school year. New cameras have been installed in the fleet of buses. This week, the department launched ZPass, a zoner student pass, for its primary riders.

“What allows us to track our students in real time is when they get on the bus, when they get off the bus,” Moore explained.

The transportation team at Cedar Hill ISD says it’s important to be proactive and innovative. Activists want the public to know the school district could still use some dedicated bus drivers.

For more information about Cedar Hill ISD, visit the Department of Transportation,

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