MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) — Baker High School is prepped for a playoff matchup on the road against Auburn High this week, but the Hornets’ biggest supporters will be stuck in Mobile.
A bus driver shortage is keeping the Baker High School band from traveling to the game.
The band’s booster president, Brandi Hannah, said they have tried nearly everything. There’s just no drivers to take them.
“Unfortunately it is what it is. We’re stuck,” said Hannah.
Hannah’s son is the trumpet section leader. He couldn’t travel with the band to away games last year because of COVID protocols. Now, his senior year, there’s another obstacle keeping him and 175 of his band mates from Baker’s first playoff game in Auburn.
Hannah said, “Our directors, they called probably every charter bus company from Atlanta, to Jacksonville to Baton Rouge and everywhere in between, and they were either already booked for the day that we needed them, or they just simply did not have any drivers to help us out.”
Hannah said charter bus drivers are in short supply and so are school bus drivers nationwide.
“We would need at least six school buses and we can’t find any drivers to drive those school buses. It’s just kind of put us in a situation where we have no way to get there,” said Hannah.
The football team couldn’t get charter buses either, so they’re traveling in school buses to Auburn, using up all the available drivers.
Hannah said they’ve even tried to get drivers from other school districts, including the University of South Alabama, but they all declined because of insurance liabilities.
“Everybody’s is sad and disappointed especially parents of seniors, you know, they want that one more football game at least,” Hannah said. “I feel bad for the football team that they’re not going to have you know, the band playing along, playing to fight song whenever they score and getting them pumped up.”
If Baker wins in the first round, there is some good news. The second round would be at Baker or just across the bay in Fairhope and Hannah said they can manage transportation for the short distance.