COVID, driver shortage cause delays for Wake County Schools bus riders

Coronavirus

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – The first day of school is known to have its hiccups with delayed buses, but this school year some Wake County parents waited hours longer than usual.

On Tuesday, a Wake County Public School System spokesperson said, “This morning went much better. Riders showed familiarity with bus stops, and there was less traffic at most schools, allowing buses to get on and off-campus in a more timely fashion. We expect continued improvement in the afternoon and in the next days and weeks.”

However, it’s more than just the first-day kinks affecting this.

COVID and a bus driver shortage are playing an added role.

The district said it currently has 617 drivers and is down about 100 drivers, which is impacting more than half of their bus routes.

Buses are collecting a group of students, dropping them off, and then going back out to get another group of students.

This is causing students to arrive and leave earlier or later than others.

“It is very difficult to plan and have any sort of extracurricular activities for kids when the buses are so delayed,” said WCPSS parent Jessica Lieb, who said her son’s bus was over an hour late on Monday. “It’s a big stress for the children, it’s an additional stress on them emotionally. My son was really upset about it.”

The district said it is asking for patience and encouraging parents to download the “Here Comes the Bus App,” which allows parents to track their child’s bus.

“We encourage parents to download the Here Comes the Bus App to track their child’s bus. And we would kindly ask for continued patience from our parents as everyone gets more familiar with new routines,” said a WCPSS spokesperson.

To attract more drivers, the district’s offering a $1,200 signing bonus. Interested applicants can go here: wcpss.net/busjobs.

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