The Macon Transit Authority says they are having a difficult time hiring and keeping drivers because of a lack of funds, so they are asking Bibb County to allocate funds from the 2018 budget to help raise driver’s salaries.
$22,963 is the average salary for a Macon Transit Authority driver.
That’s a number Jermaine Whisby says he knows all too well.
“[We] transport people back and forth to their job, then school and wherever they have to go, and make sure they get there safely,” said Whisby.
Whisby drove for the authority for over 15 years, and says in that time his salary only went up $2 an hour.
He says he has to work several jobs to provide for his family.
“I do three jobs. Two on the weekend plus this one. I know a lot of drivers who do that though,” said Whisby.
He is a supervisor now, but he says he was shocked when he found out what drivers in other cities make.
“When they told me that, that was a stab to the heart. Wow,” said Whisby.
The chief financial officer for the Authority, Danny Thompson, says they found Macon Transit Authority drivers have the lowest annual salary out of any fixed route bus operators in Georgia at $11.04.
“We're losing drivers to other jobs on a regular basis,” said Thompson.
He says they are asking Bibb County to allocate $60,000 of their 2018 budget towards the authority to raise driver's salaries to $13.13.
“You know they can’t really afford to take care of their families like they should, and we can’t get drivers and its making Macon-Bibb look really bad,” said Thompson.
If they don't fill these openings they may have to cut routes, which Whisby says could leave people without a way to get around.
“It's going to hurt a lot of people going back and forth to work and school. You know getting to a certain destination that they've been dependent on us for years to do,” said Whisby.
The Macon Transit Authority says if the county approves the funds, their board of directors will have to vote to put the money towards salaries.