Wake County bus driver shortage could impact students
Posted July 26
Wake County, N.C. — In just over a month, traditional calendar students in Wake County will head back to school, but district officials are facing a challenge in making sure they can get there.
“We are already anticipating starting the year off with less bus drivers than we had last year,” said Wake County schools spokesperson Lisa Luten.
Even with lowered hiring goals, there are still 70 open bus driver positions in Wake County. Luten said it’s a shortage playing out in many parts of the country.
“What’s really driving it is increased need for people working in transportation. Think about the Amazon packages that come to your house, the drivers that are required to drive those trucks,” she said.
Due to the driver shortage, school officials estimate at least 20 shared bus runs- where one bus serves two groups of students-when school resumes.
“It impacts students by an average of 15 minutes. Either they are getting to school 15 minutes earlier or they are leaving 15 minutes later,” Luten said.
School officials understand the shared bus runs are not ideal, which is why they are working hard to get more drivers on the road by holding multiple recruitment fairs.
“We are in the process of hiring bus drivers right now,” Luten said.
School officials are also making the position look more attractive by advocating for increased pay and adding cameras on buses to reduce discipline issues.
The school board also voted to offer employees $100 for recruiting a new bus driver that ends up behind the wheel.
“Looking at whose interested, who would be great to work with children,” Luten said.
Anybody interested in applying to become a bus driver can apply on the district website.
District officials said they will have a better idea of how their recruitment efforts paid off late next month.