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Bus driver shortage affects charter and tour bus industry

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 11:23 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN. (WJRT) - A Mid-Michigan charter bus service says school buses are not the only public transportatoin affected by the bus driver shortage.

The shortage is impacting schools across the state causing some families to arrange rides for their kids to and from school. Blue Lakes Charters & Tours says they serve people throughout the state, including parts of Ohio.

Safety Manager Jason Cupp said they lost 90% of their business and had to shut down overnight last year when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now that business is picking up, Cupp said it’s been a struggle to make sure they have enough bus drivers to do the job.

“Last weekend was the first time in the history of our company we actually were not able to fulfill a charter with not only our coaches, but anybody in the states,” he said. “It was a really sad day for us and it’s really hit home hard. Like, we’ve been doing this a long time.”

Cupp said the family-owned business has never had to cancel a trip since they started the company back in 1989. Throughout the pandemic the company says they lost some of their drivers and says it’s been a struggle to find new ones.

“We’ve got a lot of buses that are sitting, and we just, we know we our insurance renewal was September, 1st and we had to leave quite a few vehicles off of our insurances because we don’t have people to drive them,” said Cupp.

While hiring new drivers has been difficult, Cupp is thankful for the ones he does have.

“Our staff that we have right now seriously, thank you guys so much for stepping up in the way that you have,” he said. “It’s a really, it’s a really tough time for us, we’re all working around the clock. You guys have really picked up the ball and ran with it and we’re trying everything we can to try to get you guys some relief.”

Cupp asks the public for patience for the transportation service industry as this is a nationwide issue. Blue Lakes Charters & Tours is looking to hire at least 15 to 20 new drivers.

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