Education
First Student has increased the wage for new drivers to $22 an hour is offering up to $3,000 in signing bonuses. But the company is still short drivers for the school year in Seattle.
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First Student has increased the wage for new drivers to $22 an hour is offering up to $3,000 in signing bonuses. But the company is still short drivers for the school year in Seattle.

Seattle Schools adds 15 buses to reduce delays

The district is exercising a clause in its contract to force First Student to pay for additional buses and drivers from competitor Durham Bus Service.

Seattle Public Schools has hired 15 buses from an outside company to help address the district’s transportation crisis.

Yellow buses have been running up to two hours late all school year as contractor First Student struggles to hire — and retain — enough drivers. Now the district is exercising a clause in its contract to force First Student to pay for additional buses and drivers from competitor Durham Bus Service.

In a news release, the district said the 15 buses and drivers were as many as Durham could provide, although the district had requested more.

 Arcelia Rodriguez said her 12-year-old’s bus to and from Denny Middle School has been completely unpredictable this year.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be on time, if I’m going to have to take him to school," Rodriguez said. "If that happens, I’m late to work, and it’s a hassle."

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The new buses began running Monday morning. But according to the district website, there were still 26 buses running between 15 minutes and two hours late in the morning, and 16 more running behind in the afternoon.