St. Johns County Schools holds ‘Come Drive the Bus with Us’ event to fill driver shortage

ST. JOHNS COUNTY — A shortage of bus drivers has been impacting local counties across Northeast Florida.

Saturday, the St. Johns School District simply asked people to come test drive a school bus.

“One of our biggest objectives people have is that I can’t drive a bus. It’s too big, I can’t drive it,” bus driver and recruiter Rob Curtis said.

The “Come Drive the Bus with Us” event lets people test out what it’s like to be a school bus driver.

The district is looking to hire more drivers to keep up with student population growth.

“We have enough to meet our routes. We’re actually trying to keep up to growth,” Curtis said.

Potential candidates made their way through a course at the Public Safety Campus Test Track.

To be a bus driver, you must have had a license for five years and pass a series of tests. Candidates will take a class for a few weeks and participate in road and route training.

Folks also took their turn in a simulator to help them get over their fear of the big yellow bus.

“It was amazing. I thought I was going to be intimidated but I got this,” Nicole Arroyo said, who came to the event to test drive a bus.

Drivers call their line of work the best job ever.

“If you love children and you love driving, there’s nothing that beats it,” Curtis said.

The pay scale is based on experience. Drivers make $16 - $23.93 per hour.

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