'You can only do so much': Roanoke school bus drivers discuss issues with new company

Durham School Services responded to drivers' concerns

ROANOKE, Va. – The first week of school has been filled with frustration for Roanoke's school bus drivers.

Durham School Services took over management of the district's bus system this year, and its tenure has already been marred by delays in student pick-ups and drop-offs. Two bus drivers who anonymously spoke with 10 News say the issues have trickled down to the drivers as well.

"My co-workers are upset and I'm upset. It's not a conducive environment," said the first driver, who will be referred to as Kay within this story. "It's not a conducive environment."

"The kids are one reason I'm trying to stick it out as much as I can," said the second driver, who will be referred to as Jay. "You know, you can only do so much."

The drivers say many of the delays on the road have been caused by Zonar, a new computer system Durham installed that drivers have to use to check the bus.

"We have to log back in to the Zonar system, wait and scan a bunch of tags for the child check," Jay said.

"When technology is supposed to speed everything up, it slows us down," said Kay. "Our trainers have been busting their bottoms."

The drivers also say several employees have experienced issues with receiving their paychecks. Kay says she has not been paid for her work in three weeks.

"There's a whole lot of underlying issues because I now have bills that are behind," Kay said. "There are no groceries in my house."

"If the pay isn't fixed and if we're shorted, a lot of people won't be back," Jay said.

Durham School Services responded to the drivers' claims. In a statement to 10 News, they said the late paychecks were due to an issue with the company's mail carrier and that all employees will be paid for their work.

Additionally, Durham said all drivers have been trained on the new Zonar technology.

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