The bus usually picks up Carrie Graham's two daughters, ages 8 and 10, from Wildwood Forest Elementary at 3:45 p.m. and they arrive home between 4 and 5 p.m.
On Tuesday night, the family was frantic when 5 p.m. came and went without any sign of the girls.
"It was a good two hours that we were pretty worried about the locations of our daughters because we couldn't find them," Graham said.
The kids finally arrived home around 7 p.m.
According to Wake County Schools, a substitute driver on the route did not have the correct route information and returned to the transportation office to get the right route.
Graham's daughters said the driver also got lost.
"Some of the kids were telling the driver where to go and where the stops were, and some of the kids got dropped off, from what she told me. It was dark, they got the driver lost, and she got very flustered," Graham said.
While they were searching for their girls, the Grahams checked the Wake County Schools website for updates, but it showed the bus was on time. They also tried calling the transportation department's emergency line, but were only able to reach a voicemail.
"We wouldn't have been so upset if we were called and at least notified about our kids' whereabouts. We realize crazy things like this can happen," Graham said.
Graham suggested improvements to the transportation call center to ensure there is always a live person taking calls.
Wake County Schools have not commented on whether this will prompt any changes, but said they are looking in to how it happened.