Starting this week, Fluvanna County Public Schools is offering extensive training to new bus drivers. The Fluvanna County Transportation team will conduct evening sessions every weekday from Monday, February 18 through March 1. If the training is a success, FCPS will hold a new round of training in the summer.
“We are always looking for new drivers to expand our pool,” a Fluvanna County Transportation spokesperson said. “You’ve got to stay ahead of the game.”
Currently, the county school system employs about 70 drivers and all full time routes are covered. At the same time, the county recognizes that there’s a lot of turnover and there is always a need for new drivers.
“We know that Albemarle County is dealing with a shortage of drivers and we want to prevent that from happening here,” the spokesperson said. “The secret to success is to be proactive.”
The training is also geared toward teachers who are currently working in the school system.
“We have had quite a few requests from teachers who want to help out during field trips or athletic events,” the spokesperson said. “With this training, we ensure that teachers become certified bus drivers.”
According to transportation staff, there is a persistent misconception about becoming a school bus driver.
“People often think it’s easy. But I’m telling you, it’s not,” a spokesperson said. “We take educating new drivers very seriously and participants go through a rigorous training before we let them have the responsibility of driving a bus full of our kids.”
Part of the training, according to a spokesperson, is getting to know the mechanics of a bus from bumper to bumper. “It involves a lot of classroom instruction before a potential recruit even gets behind the wheel.”
But, the spokesperson said, the work is also rewarding.
“It’s a great way to help our kids and our community as a whole. It’s a great responsibility and it takes a certain person to take on the job. It does happen that a recruit decides not to pursue getting a license after the first few classroom lessons. There’s more involved than you think.”
Once a prospective bus driver receives a learner’s permit, they will get behind the wheel and receive one-on-one driving instructions at a nearby test site before they become certified.
“All in all, it’s quite a process,” the spokesperson said.
The Fluvanna County Transportation Team will not allow any new students for the current training, since applicants must attend all sessions in order to get certified.
Interested applicants for the summer session can reach out to the department: 434-589-4342.