Classes resume in Seattle, but bus driver shortage remains

VIDEO: Seattle's school district is short on bus drivers

SEATTLE — The Seattle school district is dealing with a bus driver shortage, despite two big hiring events this summer.

According to First Student, the company that operates Seattle school buses, they were down 30 drivers on the first day of school.

They said because of that, a number of routes had be combined, resulting in some delays, but nothing they called “significant."

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The challenge of finding and retaining quality bus drivers is expected to be ongoing, according to First Student’s senior location manager, William Zimmerman.

“It’s almost hard to keep pace with the need, with the amount of drivers,” said Zimmerman. “Especially with the growth that we have here in this area right now.”

This past summer, First Student hosted a new kind of hiring event where job applicants can test drive the buses to give them a feel of what being on the job is like.

They had over 70 applicants, but only about 20 made it through tot the first day due to a number reasons from training issues to not passing background checks.

First Student is holding another interactive hiring event on Saturday September 29th.  You can find more information at

Average pay is around $18 to $21 an hour and it comes with health benefits and pension even as a part time position.

We also found other school districts are hiring include Highline and Federal Way.

Officials at Highline School District told KIRO 7 they get about 10 applications a year, and only about 25 percent complete training and become a driver.