HELENA — The company that handles Helena Public Schools transportation, First Student, needs twice as many bus drivers for the Fall 2020 semester.
First Student is looking to fill about 20 positions from bus drivers to attendants on the bus. The Location Safety Manager of First Student says open positions have doubled from previous years.
“Typically, we hire anywhere between eight and ten, every year,” says Daniel Redford, the Location Safety Manager for First Student. “This year, it's been more, we believe, because of the pandemic."
Another reason for more bus drivers is added routes and the amount of students allowed on each bus. Normally, a large bus can carry as many as 60 kids. This year, those buses will only be allowed to carry just 24 kids.
"So, we've really cut down on the number of kiddos we are transporting at one time,” says Redford. “We're doing more routes with less kids on the bus. So, that's one reason for the extra drivers that we are needing."
The pandemic has also forced First Student to implement more safety precautions to keep students and drivers safe from COVID-19. All individuals, including the students, will be required to wear a mask when on the bus. First Student says masks will be provided if any student forgets their masks. One bus driver says he doesn’t feel any added pressure with the pandemic changes.
"I bought my mask for winter last year, just to keep my face warm. So, I lucked out, I had mine in advance. I was driving with it last year, I don't think it's going to change anything for me," says Denton Smith, a bus driver for First Student.
First Student will be in the CVS parking lot, near Safeway again, August 26th, 2020, from 11- 3 p.m. to answer any questions/concerns you may have.
First Student will be offering more sign-on bonuses because of the increased demand for bus drivers.
To apply online, click here.