It should really come as a surprise to no one that there were some transportation issues with school buses on the first day of school.
In Garner, students, parents and bus drivers were all navigating new traffic patterns at a school no one has ever attended. The problem caused a domino effect of problems at other Garner-area schools served by those same buses.
That is due, in part, to the fact that Wake County Public Schools couldn’t find enough drivers to get all their buses on the road for opening day. Fewer buses, more riders, new school. It’s a recipe for problems.
But WCPSS officials recognized the problem and made plans to address the problem. It is, after all, a learning experience for them as well. The rapid response WCPSS transportation officials employed gives us reason to believe the opening-day issues will be resolved in a reasonable period of time.
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Today’s opening-day issues, not unlike the problems the school system encountered four years ago, were caused in part, because Wake County didn’t put all its buses on the road. Unlike the 2012 experience, though, this year’s bus shortage was not because transportation officials were trying to do more with less. This year, they simply couldn’t find the manpower to do all the work.
In our experience, that speaks to the pay bus drivers get for the demands on their time. Bus drivers are expected to report to work early in the morning, then take a break in the middle of the day that is too short to simply plug with a regular full-time job, then report back to the bus in time to run the route in reverse, often getting off work about the same time most other first-shifters do. And they are asked to do that for a small enough paycheck that, well, it simply isn’t worth it. No surprises, then, that the county couldn’t staff all its buses on opening day.