The City of Columbus and the State of Ohio are experiencing a continued driver shortage. Ever since the pandemic, government agencies have been trying to recruit drivers with commercial drivers’ licenses. The government needs these drivers for all sorts of municipal purposes, from buses to snow plows.
However, governments like Columbus’ have to compete with the commercial truck driving industry. That industry is in the midst of its own shortage. Some estimates of the truck driver shortage in the commercial industry reach as high as 80,000 drivers.
When the shortage of drivers first started getting major attention, it was at the height of the omicron surge last winter. Most attributed the shortage to a rise in COVID cases. Pay is the problem for the government now, however.
With a shortage in both the commercial and public worlds, drivers have a lot of negotiating power. This often means that the drivers can get significantly better pay from commercial entities than from government ones. Combined with less flexible hours, and the choice for drivers is clear.
The impacts of the driver shortage on Columbus
In Columbus, the shortage of bus and truck drivers has been felt for some time. Last winter, the city struggled to meet demand for snow plows. ODOT had a 50% shortage of snow plow drivers, which caused significant delays in clearing out snow.
School buses also felt the effects of the shortage. Some elementary schools even had to cancel in-person classes at times because the district did not have enough bus drivers. Classes continued online for those days.
As Columbus enters the summer season, the focus of the shortage shifts to municipal buses and trash collection. The Metra Transit System has a reported shortage of 22 drivers heading into the summer season. The waste collection system is short 25 drivers.
It’s a good time to be a driver with a CDL. Pay continues to rise, and the legislative system is pushing for more incentives to recruit drivers, both for public and private purposes. We at Columbus Auto Transport are lucky to have an excellent team of drivers who are among the best in the business.