PUTNAM COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Putnam County students are back in school for in-person learning, but that only boosts the need for more bus drivers.
The county is looking to hire substitute drivers, but many people are not meeting the qualifications. It currently has around 120 buses in its fleet, and with that number there’s always the need for more bus drivers.
“Having an abundance of bus drivers is crucial because you never know when a driver might need to take off work. That way, we have those routes covered,” Micah Osborne, Communications Coordinator said.
Every year, the county loses drivers due to retirement or they find another job. The county can’t afford to be shorthanded with COVID-19 being a risk factor.
The real challenge is trying to fill those open positions, but it’s a thorough and lengthy process.
“The classroom course training alone can last almost six weeks and that is on top of other requirements and qualifications and certifications they need,” Osborne said.
To become a driver, applicants need to complete a 40-hour classroom course and 12 hours behind the wheel.
They also need their commercial driver’s license, CPR and first aid certifications and a background check with drug screening
It’s not for everyone.
“Once you are in a classroom setting, and you’re learning more about the job duty you’re going to figure out if it’s the right fit for you,” Osborne said.
The county offers classes three or four times a year and it doesn’t have a limit on how many people it’s looking to hire. The next bus driver class for Putnam County will be at the end of the month in October.