MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – Before the upcoming school year kicks off in September, Lamers Bus Lines is hoping to make an unprecedented amount of hires.

They’re hoping to fill positions at locations across Wisconsin, including at the Fox Cities terminal in Menasha.

That’s where driver Michelle Trefethren has been based since 2019.

She told Local 5 on Thursday that bus driving works for her, because she gets to drop off and pick up her oldest child every day, and take her youngest along for the ride.

“We get to hang out and have a great time,” she said, “and then we just get back on our route in the afternoon and pick up the rest of our kids, and then we’re home by 4:30 in the afternoon.”

Lamers hopes to find many more drivers to join Trefethren on the road.

“Right now, I’d say we’re looking for about 40 drivers just at this location,” Assistant Manager Ryan Schmidt said.

That’s a lot of drivers to find in a short amount of time.

“This is kind of an unprecedented shortage,” Schmidt said.

Officials with Lamers say they can trace the shortage back to the coronavirus pandemic.

“People were kind of scared,” Schmidt explained. “They wanted to basically be safe, which I don’t blame them one bit, but we had a lot of older drivers just retire.”

The company is holding an open house at locations across the state to try to fill those roles.

New drivers must pass a background check and be at least 21-years-old with a good driving record.

Four years of experience driving is also required, but it doesn’t have to be a large vehicle.

Anyone interested who hasn’t driven a bus before can try it out at the company-wide open house.

“It’s kind of a bit intimidating, but we’re hoping that we can actually get you behind the wheel in a set-up course here at Lamers,” Schmidt said.

Trefethren says she was intimidated the first time she got behind the wheel of a bus, but that feeling is long gone.

“It is a 40-foot bus, it’s different from driving a vehicle,” she said. “But Lamers does a great job at training.”

Open Houses will be held on Wednesday, July 21, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Green Bay, WI (2407 South Point Rd.)
  • Appleton, WI (1825 Novak Dr. Menasha)
  • Baraboo, WI (202 Old Hwy 33, Baraboo)
  • Calumet, MI; Houghton, MI; Hancock, MI (23146 Airpark Blvd. Calumet)
  • Cazenovia, WI (E2511 Cty Rd. S)
  • Clintonville, WI (123 Waupaca St.)
  • Columbus, WI (N4365 HWY 73)
  • Darlington/Pecatonia, WI (14791 County Shop Rd.)
  • Dodgeville, WI (4185 Brue Rd.)
  • Denmark, WI (452 N. Wall St.)
  • De Pere, WI (East – 2937 Monroe Rd)
  • De Pere, WI (West – 430 S. 9th St.)
  • Elcho, WI (Elcho, White Lake, Laona – N11276 Industrial Dr. Elcho)
  • Freedom, WI (N4289 Vine Rd.)
  • Gillett, WI (311 W. Park St.)
  • Howard-Suamico, WI (1934 Cardinal Ln. Green Bay)
  • Junction City, WI (3070 Oak Hill Rd.)
  • Juneau, WI (548 S. Fairfield Ave.)
  • La Crosse, WI (326 Sky Harbour Dr.)
  • Monroe, WI (2665 3rd Street North)
  • Montello, WI (260 Forest Ln.)
  • Mosinee, WI (590 W. Hwy 153)
  • Omro, WI (979 Willow St.)
  • Plover, WI (1850 Maple Dr.)
  • Princeton, WI (606 Old Green Lake Rd.)
  • Ripon, WI (565 North Douglas St.)
  • Sauk City, WI (900 Phillips St.)
  • Spring Green, WI (S12430 WI-23)
  • Waunakee, WI (217 Raemisch Rd.)
  • Waupun, WI (1208 S. Watertown St.)
  • Wausau, WI (2415 Trailwood Ln. Rothschild)
  • Wausaukee, WI (W60330 Highway 180)
  • Weston, WI – DC Everest (3805 Concord Ave.)
  • Wisconsin Rapids, WI (2611 W. Grand Ave.)