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Bibb County school bus driver continues career as district doubles routes, looks for more drivers

This year, each bus driver runs six to eight routes a day; and some of those drivers are adding stops to their morning and afternoon routes, due to the shortage.

MACON, Ga. — Bibb County Schools wants to reduce the number of routes their bus drivers handle, but to do that, they need more drivers.

Bus drivers started taking Bibb County students back to school on August 3, and this year, the district is transporting about 8,000 students a day. 

Enos Curry has been driving students for more than 20 years.

"You can train anybody to drive a bus, but that doesn't mean they'll stay," Curry said. "I instill in them daily what it is to be respectful, what it is to be disciplined and to follow rules. We can have some fun, but after that fun, we are back to the rules. I don't sugarcoat. I am very transparent with them. I say what I mean and mean what I say, but also, I am doing it in love."

All of these school buses in the bus compound are nothing without the person behind the wheel, and for Curry, there's a special reason for why he chooses to do this every day.

"My former bus driver was a friend, a confidante. I really did look up to her. I can remember being on the school bus being bullied," Curry said. "There were times I felt like no one, or the driver didn't know, or I was scared to tell out of fear of something happening so bullying is something I hold near and dear to my heart. I know what I felt like when I experienced it on the bus, so I know I don't want any of my children to ever feel like they're being bullied."

He added, "I don't tolerate bullying. I want you to feel like you can get on the bus, and you can ride home safely with nobody bothering you."

Right now, Macon-Bibb County has 136 drivers.

"You're not just driving. You've got student management that goes along with that. You've got the teaching of the rules. You've got the safety precautions when loading and unloading students on the roadway," Curry said.

Each driver runs six to eight routes a day, some adding stops to their morning and afternoon routes due to the shortage.

"It's a long, lengthy process to getting drivers on board," Jackson said.

Bibb's Transportation Director Anthony Jackson says they need 14 more bus drivers to reduce the number of routes per driver.

They're offering $1,000 bonuses to new full-time drivers.

"We also, now, encouraging our drivers to really pay attention to their attendance, as well as their retention -- come back to us after that one year if you will, and we have a $1,000 attendance and retention bonus," Jackson said. 

"One thing about driving the bus, you're not sitting behind the bus the whole day, staring at a computer. If you feel like that you could play a vital role in helping the youth, strengthening the youth, then it starts at the bus because the bus is the first place the children see and the last," Curry said.

Jackson says, if some bus drivers call out sick, it would cause delays, but "at this point," they've been "able to manage."

Macon-Bibb County's School District is paying their full-time bus drivers $19 an hour.

"It's just a great group of people to be around, and we serve a great group of people," Jackson said.

"The most rewarding thing is, out of my 20 years, seeing my past students come up to me saying, 'Mr. Curry, you were really strict, but I needed that; and I appreciate you for that,'" Curry said.

You must be 21 years old to apply.

Nearby school districts are also looking for bus drivers.

According to the Baldwin County School District's Superintendent Noris Price, Baldwin County needs four more bus drivers.

According to the Houston County School District's Director of Community & School Affairs, Jennifer Jones, they are looking for 15 more bus drivers.

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