School bus drivers needed in Washington County

July 31, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - While adding nine buses to its fleet, Washington County Public Schools officials also are looking to hire more drivers before the school year begins, said Transportation Director Christopher Carter.

He said Maryland law requires that school buses be replaced every 12 years.

"So, we're constantly replacing buses," he said.

Orders are placed for these buses in their 11th year of service. Fourteen of the county's school buses were replaced this year, Carter said.

Another nine buses were purchased to meet the demands of a growing school system and additional bus routes, he said.

"Until recently, we've only been buying buses to replace buses," Carter said. "Now that the school system is growing, we bought nine new buses. We have new students coming and new programs."

There are 147 county-owned school buses. There are about 70 contracted buses used, Carter said.

Each of the buses used in Washington County has a capacity of 66 students.


Carter said officials also look at school bus routes over the summer and make any necessary changes before the school year begins. By mid-August, school bus routes and numbers will be available on the school board's Web site ( and will be posted at the county's schools.

Carter said in addition to new buses, the school system also is hoping to add new bus drivers before the school year begins.

"We always want more drivers," he said.

Driver-training courses will be held throughout the summer to accommodate new applicants.

There are about 10 job openings, as the result of retirements, new routes and some drivers who chose not to return this year, he said.

In addition to drivers, substitute drivers are also needed.

"We like to have a list of subs we can pull from," Carter said.

Bus driver training includes classroom instruction, behind-the-wheel training, a test for the learner's permit and more behind-the-wheel training, he said. The training takes an average of about three months to complete.

After students receive their learner's permit for their commercial driver's license, they spend about 15 to 20 hours behind the wheel.

"This is a 38-to 40-foot-long bus that you're going to handle as if it was your personal car," Carter said.

For details about becoming a school bus driver, call the Washington County Board of Education at 301-766-2902.

Bus numbers

· 2.7 million - Number of miles school buses travel annually

· 47 - Number of schools served in Washington County

· 147 - The number of county-owned buses

· 4,500 - Number of field trips taken

· 164 - Number of routes

· 262 - Number of drivers

The Herald-Mail Articles