CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The City of Charleston is facing a shortage of commercial drivers.
To get behind the wheel of a garbage truck, trash truck, or even a street sweeper, the operator must have a commercial driver’s license. However, according to Charleston officials, employees with this qualification are hard to come by.
“We’ve definitely seen a decrease in the number of employees we’re getting while the private sector is getting more of them,” said Matt Alltop, the Superintendent of Environmental Services for the City of Charleston.
Alltop said many CDL drivers are choosing to work for companies like Amazon. On top of that, he said it can cost more than $5,000 to obtain a CDL.
“There’s not a lot of people with $4-5,000 that can go to CDL school,” said Alltop.
According to leaders, there are eight openings for garbage truck drivers and 12 for trash trucks. They said this shortage is the reason why trash pick-up has been delayed throughout the city this summer.
“We have a hard time making sure everything is cleaned up at the end of each week. Less crews mean more work for everybody else,” explained Alltop.
Bernard Holmes has been a commercial driver in Charleston for the past 19 years. He and his colleagues must now double up on tasks as the city searches for more drivers.
“I can do garbage, I can do trash, I can do sweeper, and most people do,” said Holmes. “You know we just try to work together and get the job done.”
To help resolve this issue, Charleston has recently increased its sign-on bonus for these positions from $750 to $1,500. Officials are hopeful this will help lighten the load for drivers like Holmes.
“This is a good job; you know what I mean. I feel like you get good pay, good benefits you know,” said Holmes.
To view job postings within the City of Charleston, click here.