The official student news site of Athens Drive High School


The official student news site of Athens Drive High School


The official student news site of Athens Drive High School


Wake County Public School System struggles to provide students transportation

Photos by Ethan Adams
An Athens Drive High school bus dropping off students at school for another day of learning.

In the 2023-24 school year, Athens Drive Magnet High School is experiencing bus driver shortages. These shortages are harming a small percentage of the students at Athens Drive, as they do not have a reliable method to get to school.

“We’re very fortunate that our school [has] a lot of good bus drivers and as of right now, all routes have a bus driver assigned to it, so we’re one of the fortunate ones … we have zero vacancies, But like most things in life we can always have a couple extra bus drivers to support,” said Ryan Piccolo, Assistant Principal at Athens Drive.  

Athens Drive High School has just enough bus drivers to fill all the positions. However, schools always require more than the needed number of drivers as there will be days that some drivers call out and a substitute driver is needed.

“Because all of our bus routes have bus drivers, some of them have to be double backs. 

We had three more double backs [this year] than last year,” said Piccolo. 

Ryan Piccolo monitoring the morning bus routes arriving, as early as 6:45 am.
(Photos by Ethan Adams)

Double backs, also known as double routes, are when students have to stay on campus anywhere from 15 minutes up to an hour after dismissal waiting for a bus to return to school to pick up another route. This can cause a lot of students to stress about basic transportation. 

“It’s very inconsistent; most of the days I can get on my bus, it’s also a joint route so I sometimes get home later than I’m used to,” said Brodie Prendergast, sophomore at Athens Drive.

Students at Athens who have to do double backs have transportation to school but their schedule after school is forced to be changed because of a lack of time.  This can be troublesome for those who have jobs or events after school. 

“Personally, I get home around 3:40; [this has just happened] in the beginning of the school year, and it happened a little at the end of last school year,” said Prendergast. 

For students that have busy schedules this can cause them to have less time to socialize and even complete their homework. This impacts grades and causes unnecessary anxiety for many students. 

“Some of our students in the county here in Athens have a bus that arrives after the bus but there are some cases where they’re about 45 minutes to an hour after the bell rings and in some middle schools they’re arriving an hour plus. Some kids are getting home at the elementary level after 5 p.m. So it’s huge,” said Piccolo.

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