Bus driver shortage ahead of school year, Grisim Bus Company asking for applicants

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(ABC 6 News) – Back-to-school season is just around the corner and a local bus company is raising awareness to the ongoing school bus driver shortage.

More than 1,800 students in the Stewartville Public School District will be hopping aboard the Grisim School Bus Company buses this fall to school.

It’s general manager Bryan Runkle says Grisim is short three drivers and it has been for years.

“It’s a real need and as the district grows, we need more drivers,” Runkle said.

Stewartville’s district is fighting a continuing driver shortage and it’s one that has been seen nationwide.

A typical bus ride for children is around one hour. The driver shortage, though, could make it even longer.

“If we find that this is an issue, the schools may be forced to do a staggered start time to where we can get some kids to school and use those drivers to fill in later,” Runkle said. “I’ve seen that in other school districts.”

Drivers at Grisim are hoping to avoid anything that would impact children. That’s why they are encouraging people to apply and join the Grisim family.

“I think the common misconception is that you have to drive all day, from morning until night. If someone comes in and wants to just drive an a.m. route, if they want to just drive a p.m. route, we can do that as well,” Runkle explained.

The job is not just about making sure children get where they need to go safely. It is also an opportunity to feel like a kid again.

“You know a lot of what’s going on with the schools, you’re interacting with the kids, you can hear about their days,” Runkle said. “You can drive sporting events, to things like football games. It keeps you young and it keeps you involved in your community.”

Driving a school bus is easier than you may think.

At Grisim Bus Company, Runkle says that anybody can drive a bus. All you need is a Commercial Drivers License Class B, which you can obtain in a span of four weeks with the company.

Now approaching its 40th anniversary, Grisim’s co-owners, Connie and Curt Grisim, say that this is more than just a job.

“40 years of friendship with drivers, parents, kids, I mean its kind of cool that we’re picking up kids of kids that we started transporting when they were in kindergarten,” Connie Grisim said. “Now we’re picking up their kids.”

As students get ready to start a new school year, the Grisim’s are hoping for more people to help get them there.

For more information and how to apply, call 507-533-8775 or stop into the office.