314 Durham bus drivers expected to lose job
More than 300 Durham bus drivers will soon be out of a job.
Hamilton county school board members voted to hire First Student Inc. last month, which ended their contract with Durham School Services.
The company will officially cut ties with those employees on June 30, 2019, according to a layoff notice from Durham. The company submitted it to the state on Monday.
“We are certainly looking for it to be a smooth transition,” Hamilton County school spokesperson, Tim Hensley.
Hensley says the district has been meeting with Durham officials about how to move forward. He says they will sit down with First Student later this week.
“We will take their thoughts on the transition pull it together with what we're looking at then come up with a transition plan. So in the next few weeks we will have that ready to go.”
Hensley could not clarify what the district's expectations are moving forward, but said hiring drivers is a priority. He says the district needs at least 314 drivers to take over an estimated 100 routes. About 60 routes will continue to be run by contracted drivers.
“By and large they will mostly stay the same other than just making some improvements. We are certainly hoping that with the new software that we're going to have some advantages of rerouting and doing things more efficiently,” Hensley said.
Hensley says the district is aware of the close relationships many students have with their bus driver, but they will soon be greeted by someone new.
“Having the comfort of the route and where are you go to school and what bus I ride that's important for the families as well as the students,” Hensley explained. “We certainly look at that for the school year and then how we can make that as seamless as possible.”
Hensley tells Channel 3, First Student officials will meet with Durham bus drivers in a few weeks to discuss employment options, and possibly begin the application process. He says more information will be posted online soon.