Governor Hochul announces plan to address bus driver shortage

NEW YORK (WHEC) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says the state has come up with a plan to address the school bus driver shortage throughout the state.

The plan includes short-term steps to remove barriers and recruit traditional and non-traditional Commercial Driver’s License holders, expand CDL testing opportunities, and enhance processes all designed to get more drivers into school buses.

New York State will be launching outreach to more than 550,000 CDL license holders throughout the state.

"Our schools and public health officials have moved mountains to ensure our children receive an in-person education this year, and we are leaving no stone unturned to make sure schools have adequate bus service to bring students to school and back," Governor Hochul said. "While the shortage of school bus drivers is not unique to New York State, I have directed state agencies to utilize creative approaches and use every tool at their disposal to help districts affected by the bus driver shortage, so we can bring in as many qualified bus drivers as possible as quickly as possible."

The Governor also announced the DMV is enhancing and expediting the process for CDL completion by removing the 14-day waiting period between the permit test and the road tests.

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta issued the following statement today on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to address the school bus driver shortage:

“Like all school staff, bus drivers play an essential role in keeping our schools running and serving families across New York. Any steps the state can take to expedite the process for obtaining a commercial driver’s license are welcome — as are steps on the local level to provide hardworking, deserving drivers with the fair pay and benefits that reflect the critical importance of their work safely transporting students. Gov. Hochul is taking important steps to address the driver shortage crisis in the short term, and we will continue to advocate with her and the Legislature for long term solutions that improve working conditions for drivers, including legislation to require districts to staff every bus with a monitor.”

Those who are interested in obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License can find information here.