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Bus driver shortages here to stay for at least the near future

TransportationGuy

Member
Original Poster
Even prior to COVID, finding and retaining bus drivers was a challenge as evidenced by sign on bonuses as high as $2,500 in some cases. The pandemic certainly hasn’t helped. While Disney has the buses, they don’t have the manpower to drive them and this is resulting in having to utilize many charter buses every single night to get resort guests to and from the park.

It seems as though the shortages don’t stop there. Charters were also running routes with DME to meet the demand there. It’s unclear if this will continue indefinitely, but per several in Disney Transport management, the park shuttles are definitely going to have charters for at least the foreseeable future.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
DME was always jobbed out but on site was usually regular CM's. If this had happened about 10 years ago, I would have been at their doorstep even as we speak. I'm getting a little long in the tooth, but I can still drive well and hold my Commercial Drivers License. Well, at least until this July when I was planning to just go back to a regular old drab "Drivers License". I think it is time to stop even thinking about driving a bus.
 

Touchdown

Well-Known Member
The question is, why are people not signing up for those jobs? Everyone talks about Disney being able to underpay because everyone wants to work there but that is clearly not the case now. Time for Disney to react to the market by making the job more favorable to applicants, which means doing at least one or a combination of this list:
-Raise Pay
-Raise Benifits
-Make scheduling more favorable
 

JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
The question is, why are people not signing up for those jobs? Everyone talks about Disney being able to underpay because everyone wants to work there but that is clearly not the case now. Time for Disney to react to the market by making the job more favorable to applicants, which means doing at least one or a combination of this list:
-Raise Pay
-Raise Benifits
-Make scheduling more favorable
You will see this pressure for people across many fixed costs for a wide spread of industries. Many people left at the start for either personal or the company had reasons to stop working that many of those people are not coming back. This will lead to inflation overall as companies raise prices to account for the extra wages and benefits required to stay in business at all. Farm prices will skyrocket if forced to pay $15 to get their crops harvested. We are in for a step up in the basis of paying for our lives.
The bus driver shortage will work itself out over time, will be a good time to have your own transport until it does. Did you see the price of Uber on the west coast of Florida has doubled? Drivers are reporting long shifts but six figure incomes from ride sharing.
 

cranbiz

New Member
It’s about a 2 month process to train new drivers from what I’ve heard
It's more than that, or was. First you had Traditions, which now is what, 2 days. then you have 2 full weeks of education on bus operations, driving and your CDL test. Then you had a minimum of 2 weeks at each park and DTD (Disney Springs), that was hub orientation. Then you had full on hub training.

I trained at MK for my first hub and was there for 2 months, then 2 months at Epcot, etc. It's probably less now with the new implementation of MIM's but a new driver isn't going to be kicked loose for at least 3 months, possibly more.

Bus drivers got better money than most cast members. A new driver , especially a CR driver, got crappy shifts for the first couple of years but by the time I had 3 years under my belt, I had really decent shifts and I didn't have to bid them. If I was retired and living back in Orlando, I would go back in a heartbeat. Even with the new changes and policies, it was, IMHO, a sweet job. I loved every minute of it.
 

cranbiz

New Member
I think S&D had a contract to be on the service and have decided not to continue that contract. I could be wrong but following the money usually leads to the cause in matters of the mouse.
You are correct, sir. The S&D contracted park transportation from Disney Transport.

Either Disney wanted more money, The S&D wanted more frequent service/dedicated service or a combination of lots of things, but there was a parting of the ways on bus transportation. This helps the Disney resorts in the Epcot resort area and hurts the guests of the S&D and the soon to open SR as they now are relegated to a fixed schedule that drops them off in a Charter Lot.
 

castlecake2.0

Well-Known Member
You are correct, sir. The S&D contracted park transportation from Disney Transport.

Either Disney wanted more money, The S&D wanted more frequent service/dedicated service or a combination of lots of things, but there was a parting of the ways on bus transportation. This helps the Disney resorts in the Epcot resort area and hurts the guests of the S&D and the soon to open SR as they now are relegated to a fixed schedule that drops them off in a Charter Lot.
I’ve seen more than enough posts in different travel forums of people advising guests at swolphin to just walk over to the Disney resorts to get better bus service and to take Disney busses from MK back home to skip the TTC which is a whole other issue resulting from this.
 

cranbiz

New Member
I’ve seen more than enough posts in different travel forums of people advising guests at swolphin to just walk over to the Disney resorts to get better bus service and to take Disney busses from MK back home to skip the TTC which is a whole other issue resulting from this.
You are also not wrong on this either. Same thing about those who park for free at Disney Springs and eventually make their way to a park on Disney buses. It's popular for those in the know to walk to Congress Park and catch a park bus. If Disney really wanted to stop this, they could require a magic band or KTTW card to board a bus that is tied to a resort but as of now, from the beginning, Disney transportation has been available to all guests.

The majority of those who stay at the S&D won't do this, so it's effects are negligible.
 

castlecake2.0

Well-Known Member
You are also not wrong on this either. Same thing about those who park for free at Disney Springs and eventually make their way to a park on Disney buses. It's popular for those in the know to walk to Congress Park and catch a park bus. If Disney really wanted to stop this, they could require a magic band or KTTW card to board a bus that is tied to a resort but as of now, from the beginning, Disney transportation has been available to all guests.

The majority of those who stay at the S&D won't do this, so it's effects are negligible.
Yah I agree it must not be a huge problem for Disney so far. The only time I can see it being frustrating is park close at MK, but not sure how’d they even measure it other than, as you said, checking room keys.
 

jlhwdw

Active Member
I know many people who would love the chance to drive Disney Transport, either full time or as a part time after retirement job. But the prospect of shifts beginning at or ending at hours like 3 and 4am does not appeal to folks when they can find comparable work often for higher pay and normal hours.

Well before COVID the rule of thumb was anyone new to busses was stuck with the 7pm-3:30am shift. I'm all for scheduling by seniority, but I can't blame anyone for not wanting to commit to hours like that when there are other options out there.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
The question is, why are people not signing up for those jobs? Everyone talks about Disney being able to underpay because everyone wants to work there but that is clearly not the case now. Time for Disney to react to the market by making the job more favorable to applicants, which means doing at least one or a combination of this list:
-Raise Pay
-Raise Benifits
-Make scheduling more favorable
There are probably thousands of bus drivers waiting to retire or just tired of running the same roads in their cities day after day. Disney is set up like a municipal bus system, in fact, almost exactly, but the clientele, although containing a number of Karen's, is usually a group in a much better mood then local clientele.

Problem was not the wages, although low, it was in complete alignment with the rest of the south. They had one game stopper, at least for me, I was getting ready to retire and I went to the "Casting" bldg. at WDW to apply. At that time, they told me directly, that if you didn't have a Florida address they wouldn't even consider your resume. So few are willing to just make the jump and pack up and move to a strange place with no guarantee that once you got there you would have a job. That was important to those that either were not retiring yet or not financially able to spend the money to relocate only to be told, nope, nothing for you here. I thought about it seriously, but then life took a different turn before I could act upon it and never tried again. I understood that they probably had a lot of people that applied and once something was offered got cold feet and backed out. But, bus driving is a specialized, trained and tested, specific licensed ability. There was no real guarantee that you might be full time if needed or part time or anyway of having a shift that might work for you. I think they were union, I never asked. That might have given a more solid idea of how the system worked.

It seemed to me that considering the heavy tourist area that Orlando/Kissimmee is would have a massive need for good bus drivers. It's not the same as pointing two fingers toward the closest restroom. Apparently Disney's hiring philosophy has kind of bitten them at the moment. The Pandemic also has depleted the savings of a lot of eligible drivers, both in Florida and the rest of the country that has left them financially unable to pack up and move with no guarantees. The bonus might help, but this would be a significant upheaval for a lot of concerned hard working folks.
 
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cranbiz

New Member
Yes, I had many 1900-0330 shifts in the beginning. The tough one was Sunday night and I then had to be at my full time job at 0800. Slept in my truck in the cast lot many times after that shift as I worked in downtown Orlando. Like I said earlier, in a couple years, I was not getting those closing shifts and actually had, what I considered a prime shift, 0530-1430 at DTD. I was CR except for a short time after I got laid off from my FT job. Disney was very accommodating in this situation, transitioning me to FT and then when I then found another FT jog about 6 months later, back to CR.

It is union, Teamsters. You bid on park and shifts based on seniority. Obviously, the FT SR guys got what they wanted. Even as CR you could bid parks and shifts. I never did and still ended up with better shifts as I got more seniority.

I don't know what starting pay is now but when I started in 2006, it was $12.96 an hour, which was a good $5 an hour more than attractions cast. When I left due to a new FT job which transferred me to NC, I was a bit over $15 an hour. That really was decent money back then.
 

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