Clerk Joseph Jastrzemski on Friday announced he is partnering with school districts across Niagara County in an attempt to address the school bus driver shortage by holding school bus driver career fairs at three Department of Motor Vehicle offices on Saturday, Oct. 2.
Jastrzemski said anyone interested in being a school bus driver can come in that day to any of the offices and not only take the permit test, but meet right on the spot with the transportation directors and school bus companies that serve all 10 Niagara County school districts.
“We are essentially holding a school bus driver career fair for those who may have an interest in being a school bus driver,” Jastrzemski said. “By offering both the permit test and the opportunity to meet the hiring managers for the bus companies and school districts, hopefully we can identify a number of viable candidates that help alleviate the bus driver shortage.”
Jastrzemski said the three DMV offices – located in Lockport, Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda – would be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the event. The only DMV transactions that will be processed that day are for Class B commercial driver licenses (CDL) for school bus drivers.
Mike Dowd, president of Niagara Falls Coach Lines, which serves the Niagara Falls School District, said, “The whole community is excited that schools are fully reopened, but part of that equation is obviously transporting the students to and from school. The shortage of bus drivers is beyond anything I have experienced and I’m optimistic that this school bus career fair will help us find some new employees. Every district across Niagara County could use more drivers.”
AJ Smith, general manager of Ridge Road Express, which serves seven Niagara County school districts, said, “While hiring continues to be a challenge, Ridge Road Express has made significant investments in recruitment initiatives and is optimistic that we will continue to grow our team. We are currently understaffed, and are running active recruitment campaigns, supported by full-time recruitment and training staff members who are eager to support new candidates through the onboarding process. These efforts have helped us to bring in several new candidates who are currently in our training program, and we are continuing to interview new drivers that are looking to make a real difference in the community.”
Jastrzemski said those interested only need to bring their current driver’s license and proof of citizenship (enhanced driver’s license, passport or birth certificate) to the DMV to take the permit test. Those with questions about the event can call the manager of DMV operations at 716-438-4007. The cost to take the test and receive the permit is $22.50.