Guilford County bus driver speaks out about long shifts, low pay

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C -- Parents complain every school year about buses not showing up and kids being late to school.

Now it’s the bus drivers who are talking.

FOX8 spoke to one driver whose been behind the wheel for almost two decades.

She tells us the long shifts, extra workload and low pay have turned a job she loves into one that is just too exhausting.

71-year-old Betty Thacker became a bus driver because she loves kids and could see herself doing the job.

But these days she struggles to rediscover the passion that put her in the driver’s seat.

“It puts a toll on you when you have to do this everyday. Day in and day out," Thacker said. "I try to be there every day and be there on time. I don’t go late and that’s what you’ve got to do."

A Guilford County Schools spokesperson tells FOX8 they need 38 drivers.

“Right now, we really need help because we are really struggling trying to do this job,” Thacker said.

Betty’s day starts just after 6:00 a.m. and ends around 7:30 p.m.—two hours later than scheduled.

When drivers quit or call out sick, she says it adds extra trips to her route to accommodate students.

“Someone has to stand up to the plate and say something because I don’t think we’re being paid for what we all do everyday and that’s not an easy job to do,” Thacker said.

She hasn’t had a raise in three years, but she’s not giving up.

She wants parents to know drivers are doing the best they can.

“Any parent that if you would like to ride a bus one day just to see what we have to go through,” Thacker said. "I challenge anybody come and be a bus driver and see what it’s all about because it’s a challenge out there.”

FOX8 reached out to GCS Transportation for comment and is waiting to hear back.

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