Two college buses sit empty on the Notre Dame Prep campus on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. A scarcity of bus drivers has led Notre Dame Prep groups to make use of non-public constitution buses to journey to sporting occasions in 2021. (Finn Garrison/AZPreps365)
Finn Garrison is an ASU Cronkite College of Journalism scholar assigned to cowl Notre Dame Prep for AZPreps365.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the best way we dwell in some ways, together with some that will not be as noticeable till it’s time to get on the bus.
For the Notre Dame Prep soccer crew, the shortage of obtainable bus drivers in Arizona has compelled them to look exterior of faculty and towards non-public constitution buses with a purpose to journey to video games this season.
In comparison with final yr, the variety of constitution buses wanted to move gamers, coaches, cheerleaders, members of pom and adults to oversee, has elevated.
“We needed to get double the quantity of constitution buses that we’d usually get,” stated Lisa Johnston, finance director at Notre Dame Prep. “Normally, we’d take two or three (college) buses, now we’ve got to get 4 to 6 (constitution) buses simply to ship individuals to those video games.”
Notre Dame Prep makes use of American Explorer Motorcoach to journey to its away video games. American Explorer Motorcoach costs about $500, in line with Johnston, for journeys inside Maricopa County and upwards of $1,000 for journeys that go exterior of Maricopa County. Notre Dame Prep soccer scheduled 5 away video games, together with one towards Mountain View in Tucson. With this being the case, Notre Dame Prep has spent not less than $12,000 on transportation for its 5 regular-season away video games.
If Notre Dame Prep used its personal college buses and in-house drivers, the price of journeys inside Maricopa County could be between $200 to $250, in line with Johnston, half of what it prices to make use of constitution buses.
Different scholar journey alternatives have been affected by the bus driver scarcity, along with sports activities groups.
American Explorer Motorcoach has a fleet of roughly 30 buses that seat 55 individuals apiece. Solely 12 of these 30 are registered, insured and in use as a result of they don’t have sufficient drivers. Di Moore, a journey coordinator for Undertaking Exploration Inc., which operates American Explorer Motorcoach, stated they’ve misplaced about half of their drivers because the pandemic began in March 2020.
“We misplaced lots of our drivers that discovered different positions and haven’t returned to work,” Moore stated “Consequently, we’re brief on drivers. All of the constitution bus firms and the college districts. All of us misplaced drivers, so all people is extraordinarily brief, and individuals are not coming again to work for no matter motive.”
Moore has needed to flip companies away as a result of they don’t have sufficient drivers. To provide the demand for constitution buses, Moore has needed to attain out to an organization in California to amass extra bus drivers.
“Due to the scarcity within the Valley, I’ve an organization that I’ve been working with, out of California that may have their drivers are available for per week at a time and assist me out so far as serving to to do my runs,” Moore stated.
Regardless of the costly bus journeys and the bus driver scarcity, Notre Dame Prep soccer gamers have used their time on the bus to construct camaraderie and relieve any stress earlier than the sport.
Head coach George Prelock stated, “That’s a time that they get pleasure from the place they’re speaking to 1 one other, whether or not it’s in regards to the recreation or listening to music. It’s their time to type of simply decompress and never get so excessive strung.”
Notre Dame Prep performed its last away recreation of the common season on Oct. 29, defeating Gilbert 49-10.