Full bus service returns for Anchorage School District

Full bus service returns for Anchorage School District
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 3:44 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School District started full bus service Monday morning, putting an end to the cohort system that left parents to provide their own transportation for up to six weeks.

Transportation Director Heather Philp said the district was able to hire 69 bus drivers since the low point in August, for a total of 203 full time drivers. In addition, the district combined routes to reduce the number of routes from 228 to 203, which means fewer buses and fewer drivers on the road.

On top of that, Philp said, they are still hiring to make sure a shortage doesn’t happen again.

“We want to build what we call our sub pool a little bit, those are the group that is more of a casual group, or they’re looking to take in a permanent position when it opens up,” Philp said. “So we are still doing a full-on hire, still doing classes. We have not slowed down on that at all.”

Philp said starting pay for ASD bus drivers is $25 an hour. Reliant Transportation, which also provides drivers, starts drivers at $22 an hour, although Philp said that could increase.

ASD’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Holland said the district has purchased new software to track bus ridership, which may mean even more efficiencies in the future. As for the return to full service, he said current bus stops haven’t changed but route numbers and pick-up times might be slightly earlier or later than students experienced under the cohort system. He urged families to check the districts parent connection portal to see if there are any changes for their student.