Doordash Downside: How Delivery Services are Threatening APS Bus Routes


Maddox Wade

Ride Rivalry: With some APS bus drivers transitioning to food delivery, students are facing transportation problems.

Over the past decade delivery services have boomed in popularity. The idea of receiving meals and necessities without having to leave the comfort of your home seems almost irresistible. Over the pandemic, many laid-off bus drivers turned to delivery apps in search of employment. Now, APS is having a hard time winning them back. 

Returning drivers are experiencing increasing busloads and decreasing incentives to stay. As of August 3rd, 11 Alive reported a need for 28 bus drivers, a number that has only grown over the following months. Many drivers are forced to take on other routes along with their original loads, extending time on the job, but in most cases, not pay. Sophomore Richard Massie is a frequent bus rider and has noticed the toll the shortage has taken on both drivers and students. Students are assigned substitute buses almost every day while drivers are constantly having to accommodate new routes. “The bus drivers are always stressed about who’s going where and students never seem to know which bus to board,” said Massie.

One extreme case of this confusion is aboard the bus of sophomore Rory Cohen. Cohen endures daily safety concerns on the way to and from school. Since the beginning of the school year, the vehicle has been so full that students have been forced to stand in the aisles to conserve space. Even with students filling the seats and aisles there is still barely enough room for everyone. Not only does standing in a moving vehicle provide serious concerns but Covid protocols are also impossible to follow. Not all students choose to wear masks and social distancing is not an option. “I get really nervous riding the bus, between riding on the highway standing up and the possibility of catching the virus, I feel very unsafe,” said Cohen.

Two months into the school year, APS is seemingly unresponsive to the issue. Despite multiple emails to the APS Department of Transportation by Cohen’s mother, there has been no response. The only solace provided for concerned parents lies in APS’s driver salary increase in an attempt to motivate potential hirees. Despite this effort, the problem is yet to be resolved. “When I was a freshman we might have had to cope with the load of an absent driver only a few times a year,” said senior Kaylee Bryant. “Compared to the stories I’m hearing now I wouldn’t dream of trading my experience for the current situation.” 

With no solution in sight, drivers continue to quit and seek employment elsewhere. Mounting stress and workloads outweigh the benefits introduced by the Department of Transportation, and communication is severely declining. According to the saying: things must get worse before they can get better, but many are losing hope for the ladder.