ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The upcoming school year is already off to a better start than the previous two, according to Abilene ISD. Due, in part, to the fact that a bus driver shortage the district experienced during the pandemic has ended.

“Currently all of our driver positions are filled. We are always taking applications for substitute bus drivers, though,” said Abilene ISD Transportation Manager, Kris Wilson.

Drivers are ready to take on their own routes after a couple years of pulling double duty. Even CDL licensed Admin staff were pitching in when times got tough.

“Last year we were pulling people out of the administrative office that had CDL’s to come drive with us,” explained AISD bus driver, Jacob Thomson.

Thomson told KTAB/KRBC with the added staff on hand, each driver will be better able to focus on their top priority: Child safety.

“Now that we don’t feel like we have to be in as much of a rush, we can take our time, making sure that the kids are as safe as we can possibly be,” Thomson said.

Although the responsibility for safety extends beyond the bus drivers reach.

“Everybody plays a role in getting our students to school safely,” Wilson explained.

Taking the time to remind the public to be cautious when driving around buses, especially in loading and unloading zones, Wilson wanted to remind drivers to stop when the vehicles red lights are flashing and stop sign is extended. This applies to those behind the bus and in the oncoming lane.

“All of them must stop when that stop sign is up,” said Wilson. “They cannot pass, by law.”

Thomson continued, “Just remember that it could be your kid that’s getting on or off that bus that’s out in the street… That somebody’s not paying attention to.”