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Richmond dad gets creative when tackling issue of school bus driver shortage

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 4:44 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - One Richmond dad is tackling the issue of school bus shortages, one pedal at a time, bringing his four kids to and from school on a specially made bicycle.

“It’s kind of my second car,” said father Erik Bootsma about his Bunch bike. It’s been his kids’ “school bus” since last year from their Byrd Park home to St. Benedict’s in the Museum District.

“There’s a car line that snakes through, and they do their best to keep things moving. It can take twenty minutes or so to get through the car line at the end of the day,” he said.

Instead, Bootsma and his four little ones just zip on by that line.

“My leg power and a little bit of electric power. Plugin the battery once every week, and that’s about all I have to do. It’s nice not to be inhaling fumes and sitting in traffic.”

The convenience of being your kids’ transport comes at a time when nearby areas still navigate through a bus driver shortage. This has caused municipalities like Henrico County to up the starting wages for drivers as a means to get more people behind the wheel.

But the decision for this alternate means of transport has been circling Bootsma’s mind long before driver shortages.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time; my dad is Dutch. They have a real strong bike culture in Holland. It’s just part of life, that’s just how you get around now,” he said, adding, “take the kids to school, go to the grocery store - I ride it downtown to go to soccer games.”

He’s hoping his decision helps inspire other parents to think outside the box in terms of getting their kids to the classroom while new drivers are sought.

“It’s really fun to see other parents who say, ‘You know, I’m thinking of getting one of these myself,” he added.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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