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School bus driver shortage is causing longer rides in Amherst County

(WSET)

AMHERST, Va. (WSET)-- Students in the Amherst County School District now have longer rides to school.

Due to a driver shortage, some students are on the bus for almost three hours a day.

According to the district's transportation director, David Randall, they started having a driver shortage around Christmas last year and just last week he made the decision to change the routes to ease their pain.

The bus usually arrives at the Day household around 3:30 p.m. to drop off their son, but last Thursday, they received a note saying their child's bus pickup and drop off time were changing.

"Starting tomorrow you're going to be on a new bus, new route, all new times," Cameron Day said.

His child now catches the bus at 6 a.m., instead of around 7 a.m.

Normally, the Day's son would be home by 3:30 p.m., but he didn't get home until closer to 4 p.m. on Thursday.

"He had a pattern he was getting used to and now all of a sudden everything is changing on him," Day said.

"It's very frustrating because our primary purpose is to the children to school and get them home safely," Randall said.

Randall said right now the school district has 57 buses and each runs a high school-middle school route and an elementary school route.

There are only three substitute drivers and average about four to five people calling in sick each day.

This forces mechanics and even Randall to have to go out and drive routes.

Randall said the bus route changes are permanent.

Each route for high school students is supposed to be around one hour, elementary schools around 30-45 minutes, and there are some outliers.

Day's route is one of them.

"If he stays in the clubs, it's going to effect his grades, because of having to get up so early and get home so late," said Day.

Randall says they are looking to hire new drivers and are putting out information around the area.

If you are interested in becoming a bus driver for the school district, call the transportation office at 434-946-9707.

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