Seattle Public Schools suspending nearly 150 bus routes due to driver shortage, vaccine mandate

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Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are suspending almost 150 bus routes due to a driver shortage in the country and some not abiding by the state’s vaccine mandate.

© istock Seattle Public Schools suspending nearly 150 bus routes due to driver shortage, vaccine mandate

There will be 142 bus routes suspended starting Monday due to a nationwide driver shortage and a shortage of drivers expected after the Oct. 18 vaccine mandate deadline, SPS said in a statement.

District spokesperson Tim Robinson says more than 6,700 students out of 18,000 could be affected by the cuts.

It is unknown exactly how many kids will be affected since the number who ride the bus changes every day.

The cuts won’t affect students experiencing homelessness, foster students, special needs students and areas with “high proportions of historically underserved students.”

“It’s our hope that the staffing shortages faced by First Student will be resolved as quickly as possible so we can resume – and improve upon – all bus service,” said SPS Assistant Superintendent of Operations Fred Podesta.

“In the meantime, we are actively looking for alternative solutions to this challenge, such as the expanded provision of ORCA transit passes for middle school students, and other modes of transportation,” Podesta added.

The cuts were mentioned to parents in an email last week with the district saying “it is possible that the remaining drivers may only be able to cover one third of the general education routes we currently run,” The Seattle Times reported.

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