Truscinski brothers help keep school bus wheels turning: School Bus Driver Appreciation Day February 23
During the week prior to the last week of school before the December 2021 holiday break, four individuals with the same last name were each driving one of the Greenbush-Middle River school bus routes as either full-time or sub drivers. Those individuals were the Truscinski brothers: Tim, Robert, Rodney, and Alan.
“What did the school say that day,” Robert asked, referring to one of the days they were all driving, “… If there were anymore of you guys driving, you’d have the whole fleet covered.”
On December 14, a Facebook post included a photo depicting these four Truscinski brothers standing in front of a yellow GMR School bus, and words thanking them for helping keep the school’s buses safe and running.
The oldest of the four bus-driving brothers, Tim has been driving school bus for 29 years, Robert for 9, Rodney for 6, and, the youngest of the four, Alan for 5. Prior to School Bus Driver Appreciation Day on February 23, they talked about their driving and mechanical experience, that unique week, the bus driver shortage, and the reason they drive.
Today, all four drive for the GMR School District. Robert works as a regular route driver and the other three drive on a part-time/sub basis.
“Rodney’s a sub and I’m (Tim) a sub, but Rodney… usually he gets called first and if he can’t do it, then I do it. If I can’t do it, Al does it,” Tim said with a light chuckle. “That’s kind of the chain of command.”
All four drove during that same week last December due to what Alan referred to as a “big need.”
As for their background, all bring different hands-on experiences to the table. Four of Valerian (Larry) and Leona Truscinski’s 10 children, these brothers grew up in Greenbush and learned from their dad how to do their own mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work. They carried these experiences into the various jobs throughout their lives.
As for that special week, all four drove at the same time after the GMR District temporarily lost a couple drivers due to illness.
“Someone said I don’t think they’ve known anybody with four siblings driving for the same district,” Tim said.
Alan added, “(There’s) probably not even that many siblings in anywhere who (are)… all licensed.”
The brothers highlighted that shortage of bus drivers. After no longer at his previous job, Robert was introduced to bus driving when previous GMR Transportation Director Bill Timm suggested he get his CDL license. Then, as a part-time driver, Robert said he was driving nearly everyday.
“That’s the way it is, just shortage of drivers. It ended up leading into my full-time (driving) and then I’m semi-retired,” Robert said. “And it has to go with your (regular) job that you’re doing … That’s why I think why there’s (a) shortage of bus drivers.”
Tim highlighted how one can’t make a living driving school bus, needing an employer who is flexible in allowing their bus-driving employees to take time away to drive. They said employers have been good about letting them off to do this. Having flexible employers or being at a certain life stage helps allow one to become a driver.
“Retired people seem to work out the best,” Tim said. “That’s like me. I started driving here because they were short.”
Tim also highlighted another reason he saw for the bus driver shortage. He said the regulations to become a driver are getting tougher, making it more difficult, Alan added, to find drivers.
Asked why they drive school bus, Alan said he wanted to just help out with a local need.
“I (am) just simply, just trying to help the district out,” Alan said. “… I know how it means to be short of help and I mean the day has got to go on. I have the background (to drive), so I’m there to step in when needed.”
During that one week last December, GMR needed all four brothers’ help and they provided it, sitting behind a bus steering wheel to get GMR students to school.
To see the complete story, read the February 23 issue of The Tribune in print or online.