Transportation Services gearing up for next year, seeking to hire more drivers

With planning already underway for the upcoming school year, Transportation Services is employing a proactive approach to address issues involving routing and scheduling. 

General Manager John Wilcots IV said the department will stop making routing changes for the current school year on April 1. This will allow the department to begin planning for routes for next year — well in advance of the first day of the 2019-2020 school year.  

“As we plan the bus routing for next school year, we want to make sure our students are not walking long distances and that they don’t have long wait times to board our buses,” Wilcots said. “The work that we will begin on April 1 is critical to ensuring the school year gets off to a smoother start next year.” 

The department will continue to review routes for efficiency over the next month, making changes as the need arises. There are currently 810 routes, down from 820 last week. But that work will stop in April, as the team shifts its focus to next year. 

Additionally, bus driver recruitment will continue as plans are made for the upcoming year, Wilcots said. This week, a job fair was held at HISD’s Construction Services facility.  

Carol Harrison attended the job fair Wednesday in hopes she’d follow in the tradition of other relatives. 

“I love to drive, and I love kids,” Harrison said. “My mother is a retired HISD bus driver. My aunt and nephew were also HISD bus drivers, so I’ve heard wonderful things about the district, and I would love to be a part of it.” 

Job fair participant Jerica Bryan heard about the job fair on Twitter and attended in hopes of making and impact on students. 

“I am interested in becoming a bus driver for HISD because I would love to be that figure to students where they are happy to come on the bus,” Bryan said. “I want them to be comfortable when they are on the bus and happy to see me just like I will be happy to see them. And I want to make sure they get home safely.” 

Wilcots said the department is still in need of 75 drivers, He has started utilizing a team of hand-picked, existing bus drivers as ambassadors to help recruit potential hires.