Driver shortage means pupils aren't getting to class on time

Massachusetts leaned on the state’s National Guard to bus students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers for the low-paid and often part-time work. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said 250 guard personnel will start training Tuesday, with some 90 of them to be initially deployed in four cities north of Boston that have dealt with driver shortages— Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, and Lynn, the Associated Press reports.

The guard members will complete vehicle training like any school transportation worker and be operating transport vans known as “7D vehicles,” not the familiar long school buses, according to the governor’s office.

Schools across the U.S. are offering hiring bonuses, providing the training needed to get a commercial driver’s license and increasing hourly pay to attract more drivers this year. On the first day of school in Boston last Thursday, school officials reported that more than 1,200 buses ran late and more than 40% did not make it to school in time for the opening bell.

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