Omaha Public Schools addresses bus driver shortage

With the school year just around the corner, OPS is troubleshooting its transportation
A shortage of bus drivers is leaving OPS to get creative with its transportation methods in the 2023-24 school year.
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 5:23 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - “Hello, thank you for calling Student Transportation,” said one call center representative.

North End Teleservices – a call center based in North Omaha – hired nearly triple the number of representatives ahead of the new school year to help Omaha Public Schools parents.

“You are wanting information on your child’s pickup and drop location?” asked the rep.

They’re there to answer questions, like “Where’s my students’ bus?” “What time will the bus be here?” “Do you have access to tell me where that bus is?”

They’re questions OPS officials anticipate will persist as long as the driver shortage does.

“There will be delays. This is not a fix-all situation,” said OPS Director of Student Transportation Trevis Sallis.

OPS’s transportation staff is at about 76% of what it should be, he said. While they’re still in the process of hiring, it’s slightly worse than a year ago at this time.

OPS is expecting busing delays as the new school year begins.

Before, OPS was using North End Teleservices on a limited basis. The call center staff dedicated to addressing OPS transportation concerns has since expanded from 14 last year to 40 this year.

“If you have a driver shortage then what you want to really expand on is the parents still having a good customer experience,” said Sallis.

North End Teleservices aims to answer phones within 30 seconds.

“You want to make sure we are giving parents as much information as we can during that first initial phone call,” said Chris Phillips, North End’s chief operating officer.

Also new this year, a new $5.7 million contract has been signed with another busing company to fill in gaps where needed.

Questions? Call the Omaha Public Schools transportation helpline: (531) 299-1040