Happy bus, happy drivers, happy riders

Published by Matthew Glover, Date: September 8, 2022
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Even in college, students need bus drivers to get to and from school quickly.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and PennDOT surveyed last October about 375,000 drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to connect potential drivers to school systems. Around 1,700 individuals expressed interest, but between 2,000 and 3,000 drivers are still needed.

In addition to the Slippery Rock Area School District, the Happy Bus that moves students on and off campus could also use extra drivers.

“On behalf of the Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA) and the entire school transportation industry,” David Schrantz, vice president of Roher Bus, said in a previous article, “we are thrilled about the Department’s support in creating further awareness about our industry and the important role we play in the educational system.”

The PSBA has launched a multi-faceted recruitment campaign to curb the driver shortage. They created two websites, YouBehindTheWheel.com and SchoolBusHero.com, designed to educate the public about the industry and advertise open positions.

They also created Facebook and YouTube advertising campaigns, which have received millions of views.

The school bus also gives drivers a chance to connect with students. They often recognize students and enjoy interacting with them each day.

“I try to engage with the students when I can,” Rachel Thompson, a Happy Bus driver, said in a previous article. “I ask them about their day and where they are going, so I can get to know them a little bit.”

The Happy Bus operates Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (or 7:20 to 4:50 from The Grove), and then 4:30 to 9 p.m. They run two busses during the day, and one in the evening.

They also run a late-night bus on Fridays and Saturdays to get students home from parties safe. It runs from 9:40 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.

The daytime and late-night busses run at 30-minute intervals. The evening bus runs at 45-minute intervals.

“We encourage ridership because it gives protection from the elements, cuts down on the number of vehicles on campus, and is environmentally friendly,” Wendy Leitera, executive director of SGA, said in a previous article. “Students also pay for this service through their student activity fee at the beginning of the year, so it is beneficial to take advantage of it.”

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Matt is a strategic communication and media major with a concentration in converged journalism and a minor in political science. Matt enrolled at SRU as a junior in the spring 2021 semester and contributed to The Rocket before becoming the news editor in fall 2022. Before that, he wrote sports articles for The Penn at IUP. Matt spends his free time playing music, socializing with friends, and playing with his cats, Max and Odele.

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