The Massachusetts National Guard is no longer driving students to school to help ease the commonwealth's school bus driver shortage.
For nearly two months, nearly 200 members of the National Guard picked up and dropped off students in 13 school districts, Baker administration announced Monday. The last day was Friday.
Gov. Charlie Baker had activated the Guard to help ease the effects of a national shortage of school bus drivers. They drove students to and from school in vans in districts that asked for help, including Worcester, Lowell and Quincy.
"The Commonwealth is grateful to the men and women of the Massachusetts National Guard for answering the call and supporting the safe transportation of students in communities across Massachusetts," Baker said in a statement. "By working collaboratively with local districts who requested assistance, the Guard was able to provide critical school transportation support at a time when schools, students and families needed it most."
The Guard-driven vans covered nearly 330,000 miles along 3,002 routes, picking up and dropping off students 14,626 times from Sept. 14 to Nov. 5, officials said. There were more than 190 newly certified drivers, and with support staff, 236 soldiers participated in the mission.
The full list of school districts where the members of the Guard worked is Brockton, Chelsea, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Quincy, Revere, Wachusett (regional), Woburn and Worcester.
More on the National Guard Activation in Massachusetts
When he announced the National Guard's involvement in busing students in September, Baker said the districts across the state were struggling to hire enough drivers.
"The safe and reliable transportation to school each day is critical to our children's safety and education," he said on Twitter.
Schools nationwide have been offering hiring bonuses and job training, as well as increasing hourly pay, to attract more drivers.
The school bus driver shortage caused delays on the first day of school this fall in Boston, though the city didn't end up requesting help from the governor and the National Guard.