Severe School Bus Driver Shortages
In January 2022, Guilford County Schools (GCS) was experiencing a major school bus driver shortage, a problem that reshaped the transit industry in 2021. Some days saw a shortage of nearly 200 drivers. The school system was unable to offer yellow buses everyday to all students and were asking parents to pick up or drop-off their child at school. Something had to be done to ensure kids could stay in school and transportation options were available.
Rethinking Transportation Resources
The decision was made to no longer offer yellow buses for high school students attending eight schools throughout the county. Instead, they would be allowed to ride the city bus at no cost with their student ID.
Initially there was some hesitation from parents with concerns about safety. Greensboro and High Point Transit worked to combat the misperception that transit isn’t safe. “Transit riders are your neighbors”, says Angela Wynes, Transit Manager for City of High Point, “each bus has a trained professional transit operator that is equipped to handle a situation, if necessary.”
The city also had to figure out the logistics of how students would know when and where to catch the bus. The TransLoc app made it easy for students to see routes, schedules, and ETAs. There were two other options also available using GTFS feeds provided by TransLoc’s Architect software.
Win-Win for School System and Public Transit
Two months later, High Point Transit System is providing up to 200 rides per day for students. With an increase in ridership two buses were added in the afternoon once school dismissed and one additional trip was added on a route in the morning. Overall it’s been a positive impact for the public transit system since they have seen an increase in ridership and funding with the school system paying for student rider fares. GCS shifted to offer yellow bus transit to schools that weren’t near a city route to ensure those students had transportation allowing everyone to get the transit services that they needed.
When asked how TransLoc played a role in this transition, Wynes said, “The [TransLoc] support staff has been amazing throughout this entire COVID period. It has been super amazing to get all of these changes done as fast as we need them.”
What started out as a temporary solution to driver shortages has been successful and may remain for the long haul even after driver shortages are no longer a concern. Reinvent your transit operations with TransLoc’s ecosystem of intelligent mobility solutions.