West Fargo puts school bus routes on hold amid driver shortage

Hundreds of parents in West Fargo are figuring out how to get their children to school next week as West Fargo Public Schools is temporarily canceling four bus routes for five days.

Buses inside the warehouse at the West Fargo Public Schools Transportation Department.
Nick Broadway / WDAY News

WEST FARGO — An all too familiar message was sent to West Fargo Public Schools parents, letting them know four routes are getting cut for the week of March 26.

Like many school districts, West Fargo is being forced to combine bus routes, consolidate times and temporarily cancel routes on a rotating basis. They are not seeing a large amount of drivers quitting, but the hiring pool is shrinking tremendously.

In his 20 years as West Fargo schools transportation director, Brad Redmond spent the first 18 inside the office. But the past two years were mostly spent behind the wheel, filling in as a driver.

He is not the only atypical wheelman.

"We had our first coach pass his CDL license today, so congratulations," Redmond said with a smile.


They currently have seven driver openings in the district. Since the shortage started sinking in, they decreased routes, combining them with every bus running at near capacity, often forced to arrive late.

"I think everybody understands that we're in a situation that we just don't have enough people to get the job done the way we want to," Redmond said.

Their new rotation system temporarily cancels select bus routes nearly every week, since they don't have enough drivers to run all of them all year. According to the West Fargo School District website, they have put 33 different routes on hold for a week at a time since January.

Redmond said more funding might help get them new drivers, but for this school year that kind of help would be too little, too late.

"Even if we find drivers today, by the time they get through the training, school will be over," he said.

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