PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia is doubling its incentives for families who drive their kids to and from school amid a bus driver shortage.
The school district will now pay families $300 a month ($3,000 for the school year) if they opt-out of transportation services.
For another option, families can receive $150 a month for transporting their children to school in the morning and utilizing the school bus service in the afternoon.
To enroll in either of these options, CLICK HERE.
"We realize that this driver shortage has very real consequences for our students, families and staff, and we sincerely apologize for these service disruptions," said Superintendent Dr. William Hite in a letter to family and students Tuesday night.
Hite also said the district is also teaming up with SEPTA to provide student fare cards to children who are eligible for bus, van or cab services. They're also in talks to expand the fare cards for adults to help families who do not drive.
School districts across the Philadelphia region are dealing with a similar issue.
The Glassboro School District in New Jersey sent a letter home to parents on Friday saying the high school and intermediate school will begin dismissing 45 minutes earlier than usual. Superintendent Dr. Mark Silverstein said the district is understaffed by eight drivers, with some resignations taking place right before the start of the school year.
In Delaware, the EastSide Charter School also announced an incentive for parents to drive their children to school.
The shortage predates the COVID-19 pandemic, but school closures and layoffs didn't help in 2020.
The New Jersey School Bus Contractors Association has seen a steep drop off, estimating 20% of drivers have not returned after layoffs because of COVID closures.