Massachusetts Governor Activates National Guard To Drive School Buses Amid Driver Shortage

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Massachusetts’ governor activated the National Guard on Monday to drive school buses in some districts in the state amid a driver shortage, according to a press release.

The state’s Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said 250 personnel will be available to drive school transport vans, according to the press release. Around 90 troops are “preparing for service” as of Tuesday and will work in four cities north of Boston — Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn — in response to staffing shortages.

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It is not apparent how many districts the National Guard will assist or for how long, but the governor said that its new transportation duties won’t impact its capacity to respond to other state emergencies, according to the press release.

Guard members must complete vehicle training as required of any school transportation employees, but instead of driving long, yellow school buses, Guard personnel will operate smaller transport vans called “7D vehicles,” according to the press release.

“The Guard has a proven track record of success supporting civilian authorities,” the press release said. “Their frequent side-by-side training with state and local first responders makes them well-suited for a variety of missions.”

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There has been a nationwide shortage of bus drivers at the start of this school year, the Associated Press reported. School districts across the nation have offered bonuses, test drives and higher pay to incentivize individuals to sign up to drive buses.

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