TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)-- School is almost out for the summer but that doesn't mean the need for bus drivers has lessened. Drivers can apply for the start of next year but there may be some setbacks for when they can officially pass their tests.
If you drive around town you'll see signs looking for bus drivers in Tippecanoe County. Even though the school year is coming to an end, this is the prime time to start training for the fall. The problem is, setting up the test can take some time.
Becoming a bus driver is a lengthy commitment and schools nationwide are having a hard time getting people to take on the job.
Part of it is because some believe they won't pass the test like bus driver Paul Gritten.
"You were pretty confident that you were going to pass the test?" WLFI asked. "No, no I didn't," said Gritten. "I mean it's quite a bit of stuff when you're an old guy."
But it's not just the fear of passing the test that's making people wary of the task.
For someone to become a bus driver, they have to pass a written and driven test. Well, that's just a given, but what happens when it takes directors a month in advance to plan for these tests to be taken. You can't just take it right away.
Tippecanoe School Corporation's Transportation Director Greg Haltom said getting drivers to the final stages to pass is what is pushing them back.
"Across the board, professional drivers have become so much harder to hire that you may have seen," Haltom said. "They may be in a contraction a little bit of the number of testing sites in our state."
On the bright side, the Tippecanoe School Corporation covers the costs of a commercial drivers license, physical examinations and the $100 testing fee; they even pay drivers to train for the position.
All in all, TSC is doing everything they can to get more drivers over the summer, but Gritten hopes TSC can find not just numbers but qualified, passionate applicants.
"It's better to have qualified bus drivers than to just have a bunch of bus drivers."
Haltom hopes the covered costs will help bring in more drivers despite the long process.
Drivers will complete a 4-6 week training session in Tippecanoe County and will take their final exams at one of the twelve locations in Indiana.
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