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Local company is doubling the pay rate for school bus drivers to help address the driver shortage

PITTSBURGH — Summer may just be heating up, but one local school bus company is already looking ahead to the fall.

The president of McKeesport-based Sun Coach Lines on Monday announced plans to more than double the pay rate for existing and new bus drivers to try to address a shortage of drivers across the region.

David Sunstein will offer a guaranteed rate of $168 per day, an increase of more than double previous average rates of $80 per day, said spokeswoman Carrie Butler.

According to, the average national rate is $17 per hour, with an average work day of 4-5 hours. 

“We are taking a bold step that we hope will have significant impact on closing a transportation gap that’s affecting every school district in the region,” Sunstein said. “By offering a significant pay increase, we want to invest in quality drivers to not only meet our existing transportation needs, but also to be able to support numerous others who are reaching out to us for help to address shortages.”

Finding school bus drivers has been a longstanding problem for districts, but it’s been exacerbated by the pandemic and an anticipated widespread return to school for the majority of districts in the fall, Butler said.

Sunstein said he is hoping to hire 50 new drivers this summer, but will go as high as 100 new jobs. Candidates must be over age 23 to apply.

“Families in our region deserve to be able to depend on safe and reliable transportation for their children to get to and from school each day,” Sunstein said. “We are asking for the people of Pittsburgh to step up with the work ethic, care and concern that have defined us throughout history and become a solution to a very serious problem for our kids.”

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