Bus Driver Shortage Continues

Most of these buses will return to take another group of students as there aren't enough bus drivers to take kids all at once, so bus drivers must volunteer to drive multiple routes. (Photo courtesy of Nadia Ferjani)

Wake County public schools have been experiencing bus driver shortages for the past couple of years. With 315 bus driver positions vacant, this school year is no different.

Almost daily, the announcements come on during class to inform students that certain routes won’t have a bus driver that afternoon. Giving students less than half a school day to find an entirely different way home after school. 

Kyla Alston, sophomore, said, “It was time to go home and the announcements were like “route 24, will not have a driver,” so I just went with my mom.” 

The reason for the bus driver shortage in Wake County is mostly due to their pay rate, that’s why in 2021 bus drivers went on strike to protest their low pay wages. 

As a result of this strike, the Wake school board increased pay and gave a bonus to permanent bus drivers. However, the Wake County district never fully recovered from the protest. 

On September 29, 2023, the announcements at Leesville Road High School came on announcing that multiple buses would be late and asking for teachers to excuse the people who came into class late. Students are missing class time due to this issue. 

Bus drivers are an essential part of school, without them some kids have no way to attend class. Their low wages are unacceptable. 

Kids are missing class and getting home late in the afternoon due to this shortage and the small increase Wake County gave them before in 2021 is clearly not enough. Remember to thank the bus driver today.


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