Wake County bus driver shortage could mean longer rides for students

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — School starts back up next month for most kids and Wake County is still facing a bus driver shortage.

The district has more than 800 buses but not enough drivers behind the wheel.

“We continue to grow and so our needs continue to grow,” explained Raushawna Price who works for Wake County Schools.

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The school district is looking to hire a little more than 100 drivers.

They’re not exactly sure how many they’ll need until the ones they have on the books “check in” for the year. That doesn’t happen until August. Drivers who drove for the county last year may choose not to drive again this year.

CBS North Carolina asked if there were enough bus drivers to make sure every child had a ride to school. The district said yes, but fewer drivers could mean a longer walk to a bus stop or longer bus rides.

“We’re working to make sure we have quality bus drivers first, so there could be a time where we’re starting with longer routes, and then were going to be looking to reduce that over time,” Price explained.

The district has already had one job fair to recruit drivers and they’ve got three more planned in the coming weeks.

“If the school year were to start tomorrow, we’d adjust the routes to fit the needs of what we have right now. But we’re continuing to hire drivers so that will reduce the routes even more,” said Price.

Price says potential hires must pass a criminal background check, have a clear driving record, and go through training.

Buses will roll out for the first day of traditional school on August 28.

The next job fairs are:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
3 pm – 6 pm
Green Hope High School
2500 Carpenter Upchurch Rd, Cary, NC 27519

Saturday, August 5, 2017
9 am – Noon
Southeast Raleigh HS
2600 Rock Quarry Rd, Raleigh, NC 27610

Thursday, August 17, 2017
3 pm – 6 pm
Sanderson HS
5500 Dixon Dr, Raleigh, NC 27609

You can find more about the job fairs here.

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