Transportation Services is updating the SafeStop bus tracking app to reflect temporary changes made to bus routes that do not yet have a permanent driver assigned due to an ongoing driver shortage.
Of the department’s 828 routes, about 10 percent — or 87 routes — do not have permanent drivers due to the shortage, which is impacting transportation organizations across the region.
As a result, stops on these open routes were temporarily reassigned to nearby staffed routes to ensure all students have safe and reliable transportation to and from school. This has caused some staffed routes to run longer than originally expected.
In the meantime, Transportation Services is continuing to recruit and hire new bus drivers, with 39 drivers in varying stages of training. Once these drivers complete their training, they are expected to fill almost half the department’s vacancies, dropping the number of routes without permanent drivers to 48 — or less than 6 percent of all district routes.
In conjunction, department administrators are continuing to review and streamline routes to increase efficiency and reduce the overall number of routes needed.
For parents viewing open routes in SafeStop, it may have appeared as though the bus was stationary at the bus terminal. This issue should be corrected as the department continues to integrate temporary route changes into the app, which was launched in August.
Additionally, Android users have reported issues receiving push notifications. As SafeStop works to resolve the issue, Android users are encouraged to utilize email notifications and the Map View feature, which allows parents to see where their child’s bus is along its route and expected arrival times for their stop.
Parents who experience issues with SafeStop or have any transportation-related concerns should contact Transportation Services via Let’s Talk!, the department’s online communications and customer service platform.
Box Info: Interested in becoming a bus driver? Apply online at DriveHISD.org. Drivers earn a starting hourly wage of $18 and receive free CDL training. Other benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance, Teacher Retirement System participation, and special trip pay options.