Durham Public Schools bus driver shortage impacts dozens of schools: 'Pay the bus drivers'

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Durham Public Schools bus driver shortage impacts
The school district told ABC11 that 33 schools were impacted by the absence of 26 school bus drivers on Monday. The salary issue is one reason drivers say they aren't showing up, DPS says.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Public Schools has issued an apology after the majority of schools within the district were impacted by the bus driver shortage.

The school district tells ABC11 that 33 schools were impacted by the absence of 26 drivers on Monday.

According to DPS, the salary issue is one reason drivers say they aren't showing up.

"Come on now. You can't take people's money like that," said one bus driver who wanted to remain anonymous. "We don't trust management. Those people making the decisions that affect our paychecks."

Several bus drivers said this situation started months back. They said were promised a $1500 bonus that they received, but their next paycheck came up short. They claimed the district stopped paying drivers for their years of experience.

"They stopped that and said we're no longer paying you for your years of experience. People's wages are going down," said the bus driver.

There were long lines outside Merrick Moore School with parents on pick-up patrol. For parents like Chris Baker, it's created a headache.

"Pay the bus drivers," said Baker. They're going to fall behind if they don't get this fixed. I'm going to have to quit sending them I have to work."

Another parent said her kids have had to miss school because they didn't have a ride. She had to work.

"If this happens tomorrow, she won't be going to school," said Sherika Hunter.

Another parent, Rufus Parker Jr. showed text messages he received in the middle of his workday telling him his son needed a ride home.

"Makes it challenging to have to come out here and wait and pick him up. We pay taxes for the bus," he said.

The list of impacted schools

Schools impacted by bus driver shortage on Monday, January 29, 2023.

DPS issued this statement late Monday: "First, DPS would like to thank families for their ongoing support and cooperation during our staffing challenges. We are working to address the matter and will keep you informed with the latest information. Our transportation situation continues to change, and we ask that you continue to assist in transporting your students to and from school. We will post impacted bus routes on our website and on our social media channels each morning so that you have the most current information. You may also use the Edulog Parent Portal App for real-time updates. Our ultimate goal is to educate our students and we know their safe and successful transport is essential to fulfilling our mission. Thank you."