The DVE-News/TV reporters interviewed Sandra Burd, transportation manager and Dawn Irwin, who is a bus driver for Rohrer Bus Service. Here is their report:
When the interview began, we discovered that Rohrer was established in 2010. Rohrer Bus Services are a part of Rohrer Bus headquarters in Duncannon, PA.
Although Mrs. Burd is the Transportation Manager for this area now, she did start out as a bus driver, and was one for about 20 years. She felt it was the best job for parents who wanted to be on the same school schedule as their child.
Mrs. Burd discussed the nation-wide bus driver shortage. It has been going on for about two years.
Rohrer currently has 41 bus drivers. A perk that Rohrer has is they keep buses at two locations to make it easier for the bus drivers who live and have children at the Dingman Delaware Campus. There are 25 buses kept on the Dingman Delaware Campus and 35 buses here in Matamoras.
Becoming a bus driver
There are bus driver jobs available. We asked how long it takes to become a bus driver and were told that it depends on the person, about a month or longer depending on their training skills. They currently have 41 bus drivers covering all Delaware Valley’s campus routes. We asked how people can apply for employment at Rohrer.
For more information, log onto www.rohrerbus.com, or call 570-491-5867 for the Delaware Valley School District transportation department at 570-296-1883.
Rohrer Bus Service is also extremely fortunate to have their own CDL (commercial driver’s license) and DOT (Department of Transportation) trainers. Rohrer will pay for the course which can be taken right in Matamoras. You can take online courses at their service center. They also pay for any clearances needed when you apply, which is another great incentive. The number of hours you drive depends on the bus routes you have or the trips you are driving.
It costs approximately $50,000 annually for their buses. The buses have special features such as air brakes, juke brakes and many safety features. A typical bus is 40-feet long and can hold up to three students in a seat for a total of 81 children. They typically try to keep it to two a seat if they can.
A day in a driver’s life
We also spoke with Mrs. Dawn Irwin, bus driver for Rohrer Bus. She told us she starts her day at her bus at 6am. She then pre-trips her bus (makes sure the bus is safe and clean), then begins to pick up her middle school/high school students and drops them off at the DV High School main campus. She then checks her bus again for children. Mrs. Irwin is then on her way to pick up her elementary school students for their run, drops them off and again the bus is checked for children and safety reasons. She then has a break in her day, which she likes. It allows her to go on appointments, and get chores done. She also gets time to socialize with her fellow bus driver friends, she feels they are like family.
In the afternoon, she leaves to pick up her middle school/high school students at the main campus, drops them off, checks the bus, and goes to pick up her elementary students and drop them off. She is then back at the bus depot, cleans and checks the bus and is done with her day. Another part she loves about being a bus driver is that it allows her to be off when her daughter is off from school (snow days), early dismissals, 2 hour delays, summer vacation and holidays. She used to be in retail, where she worked holidays and weekends and in bad weather. She now has more time for her family and loves that about her job.
She said her favorite part of her job is that she loves kids, has more flexible time and has made good friends she considers family. The hardest part of her job is that she really misses students when they move away.
Mrs. Irwin was asked if she had ever had to stop the bus because of an emergency. She said that she has. She had an engine problem. She considers the company lucky in that they have mechanics on site. Therefore, they had another bus transferred to her and they got back on the road quickly to their destination.
Mrs. Irwin agrees that it is fun to be a bus driver. For holidays, she decorates her bus. For this past Valentine’s Day, she bought window stickers and had the students decorate their own windows. When asked about bus driver responsibilities, she said they are vast and many. She always needs to be a safe driver to keep everyone safe, if someone is sick or hurt, she can be a nurse and other times when students sometimes do not get along, she can be a mediator.
When we asked what was the weirdest thing that has happened on a Rohrer bus, Mrs. Burd said that sometimes students’ dogs want to go on the bus too as they want to be with their kid masters. Rohrer can’t allow that to happen, but some dogs will always try.
Mrs. Burd and Mrs. Irwin gave us a tour of the DV Coach buses.