CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County Schools officials say bus arrival time changes are normal after several buses in the district were delayed this week.
Horry County Schools spokesperson Lisa Bourcier tells News13 there are numerous things like traffic, mechanical issues, or health issues of a student that can delay a bus.
Earlier this week, Facebook pages for specific bus routes in the county posted students who ride the bus from Socastee Elementary and Forestbrook Middle School would arrive between 15 and 35 minutes late due to an “extreme bus driver shortage.”
While the district is looking to hire more drivers, Bouricier says they only have 25 vacant positions; a number lower than previous years.
Right now, there are 444 school bus drivers for Horry County Schools.
Due to the hours and schedule of a bus driver’s job, Bourcier says it is one of the tougher positions to fill in the district.
“It takes a special person who wants to drive a bus and be around kids most of the day,” Bourcier explains. “It is a 180-day type of work environment and it is a split shift with morning and afternoon routes so it is a difficult position to find.”
She tells News13 a lot of bus drivers are parents as the schedule lines up with their students’.
Supervisors in the transportation department are certified to drive the bus and Bourcier says there is an adequate pool of substitute drivers.
Bourcier says delays happen throughout the school year, however, during this time of year, some drivers take vacations ahead of the holidays. Also, there were several driver call-outs this week due to the flu.
Because delays to arrival times can be unpredictable, district officials say to follow the bus area of your student on Facebook to get updates on the exact time of your child’s arrival if their bus is delayed.
“We try to provide as timely information as we can and very specific information,” Bourcier says. “Even down to the bus number and the timing to expect those delays as well.”
The district also has an automated call system to alert parents if their child’s bus will be late.
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