Rideshare drivers raise concerns after city school district slashes bus service for some buildings due to bus driver shortage

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 6:27 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - It’s less than a week before St. Louis Public Schools opens its doors for the first day. That gives parents less than a week to figure out how they’re getting their kids to school after the district announced the suspension of some bus services earlier this week. Now, one group of drivers fears the burden could be placed in their lap, which is against company policy.

“I’m a single mom. I don’t have anybody just right here that can just pick her up,” Kallie Goodsite said.

Goodsite’s one of the thousands of SLPS parents scrambling to find a way to get their children to and from school.

“I mean, what am I supposed to do?” Goodsite asked.

On Monday, the district announced eight schools won’t have bus service. Instead, those families could get a $75 gas card, a free Metro bus pass, or call a rideshare like Uber or Lyft.

“Some of these drivers don’t want that responsibility,” Drew Bergmark said.

Bergmark’s been driving for Uber for more than three years. So has TJ Shamon.

“It’s a lose lose for drivers,” Shamon explained.

Between the two local Uber drivers, they have more than 26,000 rides. They said picking up someone who’s alone and under 18 years old is a no-go.

“It’s against Uber policy for an unaccompanied minor to be in my car. I’m not supposed to drive them,” Shamon said.

News 4 asked SLPS about this after Superintendent Kelvin Adams offered it as an option to parents earlier this week.

“We also did at least reach out to Uber and Lyft. For us, it was something we’re not able to do,” George Sells with SLPS said.

Despite back-tracking on this option, district leaders remain optimistic, saying they have nearly 40 drivers waiting to take their commercial driver’s license test.

“It’s been a situation where really the bottleneck is at the DMV. We’re doing everything we can to expedite this as much as we possibly can, and it’s just a matter of trying to work through it,” Sells explained.

However, some Uber drivers still fear that burden could fall on them, forcing them to cancel rides when they realize a rider is below the policy age limit.

For now, heading into SLPS’ first day Monday, they have more than 30 routes uncovered.