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Bus driver shortage may cause longer bus routes in Onslow County

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:17 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Onslow County Schools has increased wages and benefits for bus drivers in hopes of fixing a bus driver shortage.

According to the Onslow County Schools Central Services, the county still has 43 driver positions that have yet to be filled. “We have a need for bus drivers every year, but this year we see a greater need for bus drivers than we have in any past years,” said Steve Myers, Chief Operating Officer.

The county increased pay for drivers to $15/hr. and has added an additional $2,500 sign-on bonus for drivers that apply.

Parents, like Emily Campanaro, whose daughter will be starting her first year of kindergarten, are worried about how this could affect their home, having to potentially wake her daughter up much earlier than expected if buses are extended.

“And that’s pushing it because you still have to get them ready, get breakfast in them and then possibly have to drop them at the babysitter and take them the rest of the way,” said Campanaro.

“If we are short on drivers in different districts one of the things is an all hands on deck type mode where we’ve got all our bus coordinators and mechanics and everybody else trying to drive buses as well,” said Myers. If this approach doesn’t work, Myers says the county plans to either have drivers do double-routes with an earlier start time, or they will be doing extended morning and evening routes; some that could possibly last as long as an hour and forty-five minutes in some parts of the county.

The next application deadline for Onslow County Schools bus driver positions is Aug. 30th, and training for those applicants will begin in the second week of August.

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