MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A city in Alabama is going through a drought: Bus drivers.

The Montgomery Public Schools are working toward solutions for the lack of drivers at the start of this school year, the Montgomery Advertiser reported . A school official says the district is seeking more drivers, but they aren't receiving any applications despite efforts to advertise openings.

Of MPS's 159 routes, 151 have a driver with no subs. The problem becomes even worse when drivers call out.

Retired bus drivers cannot work full time and therefore have to take off one of every 10 days they work, or approximately two days per month. MPS currently has 31 retiree drivers meaning Thornton has to get creative to work around absences from more than 20 percent of his drivers.

The district's new transportation director Eric Thornton said 22 bus drivers called out sick on Aug. 17 — just 10 days into the school year.

"There's nothing I can do about that," said Thornton, who started his position in July. "Now you've got to get in there and scramble."

MPS bus driver Johnny Davis is one of those affected by the shortage. He steers Bus No. 1882 from Johnnie Carr Middle to Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet School.

Davis then picks up two groups of students — "an extra route, because of the shortage" — and take those students to Capitol Heights Middle School.

"We have a fairly cozy bus ride. Every student has a seat, but it is to where sometimes, maybe three students have to sit on one seat, but for the most part it's one to two," Davis said. "My perspective is to be as flexible and supportive as I can."

Parent Jill Perez waited two mornings with her daughter at the bus stop, but no bus arrived. It was the second week of the school year, and decided to drive her daughter to school the next day.

"Other parents were concerned at our bus stop," Perez said. "One of them drove around the neighborhood looking at kids all over who were waiting for school. And this was at the time school was supposed to be starting."

Nine hours later and outside city limits, Misty Dicks was calling Dunbar-Ramer School and the MPS Transportation Department but getting no response. It was an hour after the bus normally arrived. Her two boys were still not home.

"It freaks me out. I don't know where my kids are. They're supposed to be here and nobody knows where they are," Dicks said.

Thornton is award of parents' concerns.

"I'm not sitting here wanting your child to not get picked up," he said.

Until more bus drivers are hired, Thornton has adjusted some school opening times — not start times — to squeeze an extra route out of current bus drivers. It's a plan he sees as the most efficient current solution.

MPS is attempting to implement a tool that will send out calls to parents whenever buses will be late on specific routes, Thornton said. The only obstacle is ensuring all parents have the correct contact information in the system.

"If you're a parent and you've got a good number, we would send that information to that good number and now you'd know the bus is going to be late or there's going to be a sub bus or whatever the case may be," Thornton said. "Now you know exactly what's going on. I don't have the ability to put that information out there right now because I can't call 200 parents."