SVSD bus driver shortage affects 20 routes Friday

Eight bus drivers called in from work resulting in remaining drivers to make double runs Oct. 25.

Snoqualmie Valley School District (SVSD) bus drivers were left scrambling to pick up and drop off students last Friday, Oct. 25.

About eight bus drivers called in saying they would not be able to come into work Friday morning, SVSD spokesperson Carolyn Malcolm said.

The drivers either called in sick or for medical or personal reasons.

Hiring and retaining school bus drivers has been a longtime challenge for school districts across the state, Malcolm said. SVSD is no exception.

SVSD transportation director, Jim Garhart, said while it’s been an ongoing challenge he’s never seen a shortage like the one on Friday.

“It’s been going on for at least 10 years,” he said.

The district has about 48 drivers and only has three substitute drivers, according to Malcolm. There are about 40 bus routes in the district. The driver shortage on Friday affected about 20 of those routes.

“We just don’t have enough drivers,” Garhart said. “We had everyone out there driving on Friday. Other buses picked up other routes, most making double runs.”

Several routes were combined to accommodate the need. Students on the affected bus routes experienced about a 30 minute delay in drop-off time, Garhart said.

Parents were notified about bus route changes through Bus Bulletin. Parents can sign up for Bus Bulletin email and text notifications on the SVSD website (

Garhart said the district is exploring other transportation options to supplement the lack of drivers. The district is working to subcontract with other agencies to get more drivers. He thinks the reason why it’s difficult to hire and retain bus drivers state-wide is due to its split schedule.

“You work in the morning, have the early afternoon off, and then work in the afternoon,” he said. “Some people don’t like that schedule, and it’s difficult for them to work that kind of schedule.”

However, he said, there are pluses to being a driver — especially if they have a child in the district.

“It’s great because you get the same breaks as your kid. Also, your child can ride on the same route you drive,” he said.

Garhart wanted to highlight that there is a district job fair for school support positions happening Nov. 13. School support positions include bus drivers, custodians, cooks and paraeducators. It will be held from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. at Snoqualmie Middle School.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Bothell High School is closed due to caution over potential coronavirus

So far there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19

Aerial view of the Amtrak Cascades train derailment in 2017 near DuPont, Wash. Courtesy Wikipedia
Amtrak, Sound Transit and the state all named in derailment lawsuit

It was filed on behalf of the family of a teenager who was paralyzed in the 2017 crash.

Needles littered the ground throughout a homeless encampment at Federal Way’s Hylebos Wetlands, which is public property. Sound Publishing file photo
Republican leadership doubts effectiveness of homelessness spending

Democrats propose hundreds of millions toward affordable housing.

Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht gave a response to an Office of Law Enforcement Oversight report on Feb. 25 before the King County Law and Justice Committee. The report recommended ways her department could reform use of force policy and internal investigations. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Council unsatisfied with Sheriff’s response to use of deadly force report

The King County Sheriff’s Office could be required to explain why it didn’t implement recommendations.

King County approves low-income Metro fare waivers

Low-income transit riders could see their King County Metro fares waived beginning… Continue reading

King County Council has nine members who each represent a district. Courtesy of
Charter amendments could allow King County Council to remove elected officials

The change was recommended by the charter review commission.

Voters could vote to affirm subpoena powers for civilian KCSO oversight agency

The King County charter review commission recommended enshrining the power in the charter.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Democratic lawmakers roll out spending plans for climate change, homelessness

Republican opposition calls for tax relief, rather than spending the increased revenue.

PNW plant-based foods could help in climate fight

Animal products create a lot of emissions, but veggie alternatives are coming from King County.

Most Read