Come drive with us!

  • OCS-Approved Bus Driver Incentives for 2022-2023

    Effective August 29, 2022: The starting pay for new bus drivers was set at $17.00 per hour. In addition, an extra $1.23 per hour was added to the base pay rates for all existing OCS drivers.

    Other incentives include:

    • Paid medical examination fee required for bus drivers.
    • Reimbursement of CDL license fee.
    • Annual retention bonus for drivers (entry level and 1-2 years at $250; 3-4 years at $500 and 5+ years at $1,000)
    • $500 Referral bonus* (Paid to an employee once a new driver is hired and has worked 90 days)
    • $250 Driver perfect attendance bonus (per 9 weeks)
    • Sign on bonus tiers:
      • $2,500 Sign on bonus for Drivers ($1,250 paid within the first 30 days of employment and $1,250 paid after 90 days of employment)
      • $1,250 Sign on bonus for Safety Assistants who also are Drivers ($625 within the first 30 days and $625 after 90 days of employment).  
      • $600 Sign on bonus for Safety Assistants who are not Drivers ($300 within the first 30 days and $300 after 90 days of employment)



    • ALL OCS employees (part-time & full-time) should know they are eligible for a $500 referral bonus if they refer a new school bus driver who is hired and works 90 days.
    • There is NO LIMIT on the number of referral bonuses an employee may receive.
    • This referral incentive is available now through May 30, 2023. 

    If you would like to refer a person as a school bus driver, please ask the individual to complete an application LINK HERE. 

    Once they complete the application, please contact Audrey Pettiford at ext: 14503 or by email at

    Ms. Pettiford will confirm the application is on file and note your referral on the application. 

    If the individual is hired and then works 90 days, the transportation department will submit a payment form on your behalf for $500.

Orange County Schools Transportation

orange county schools school bus

Bus Information


    • For any bus riders, the OCS Transportation Department is responsible for all communication to families and will use our Mass Notification System (email, phone, and text) regarding late buses, substitute buses, bus delays due to road closures or mechanical breakdown, and should a bus need to return to campus. How to Receive Text Messages

    • The OCS Transportation Department will also communicate with families on an individual basis regarding bus change requests, new route requests, a missed stop, safety concerns regarding bus stops (location and distance), driver complaints, and any walk zone reviews. 

    • School and/or office staff are responsible for communicating with families regarding a bus returning to campus due to student misbehavior, bus accidents regarding the health and safety of individual students, and any missing student reports.

Transportation FAQ's

  • Transportation FAQS

    I moved over the weekend. Who do I contact to get a new bus assignment for my child?

    Routing is based upon the legal address the school has on file for a student. It is the parent’s responsibility to provide documentation of address to the school. The school will notify the Transportation Department. Transportation will assign a safe bus stop in alignment with School Board policy and State guidelines.

    Can my child use one stop in the morning and another one in the afternoon?

    Yes, a child can have separate stop locations in the morning and in the afternoon. To set it up each year a note must be sent from the parent/guardian stating how often and where the stop location is. The note must be signed by an administrator and then given to the bus driver.

    Can a stop be set for afterschool care for my child?

    Each elementary and middle school has on-site afterschool programs, and we provide transportation to select off-site childcare facilities. We do not transport to day care locations which are not approved sites for each school.

    Whose responsibility is it to inform me that my child’s bus was going to be 1½ hours late?

    A bus is late when it has not arrived more than 30 minutes after its scheduled arrival time. When a bus is late due to unforeseen circumstances the Transportation Department notifies the school.

    Who is responsible for informing me that the stop was moved/different route/different drop off or pick up time?

    The Transportation Department notifies the schools of any route or time changes. The schools assist the Transportation Department in relaying that information to the parents. It is often requested that they provide written documentation concerning any route or schedule changes to the parents.

    There is a special education stop located next door to me going to the same school. Can my child ride that bus instead of walking a mile to the current stop?

    No. Only children with an Individual Education Plan stating that special accommodations are necessary for them to be safely transported to and from school are allowed on the Special Education Buses.

    Can I drive my child to an alternative bus stop?

    A student is assigned a stop based on their legal address. Routes are set up based on those assignments as is the size of the bus assigned to the route. Driving a child to an alternative stop could cause the bus to be overloaded. Also, it becomes a challenge for parents to continue to meet the bus with the fluctuation of time due to the majority of the routes being in the rural areas and traffic patterns. This leads to a breakdown in the safety of the student on the bus.

We Need You

  • WE NEED YOU! If you are interested in driving a school bus for Orange County Schools in Hillsborough, North Carolina, please call or email Jennifer Smith for more information:  OR  Wanda Bain

    • Before becoming a school bus driver for the district, drivers must meet strict requirements. They include, but are not limited to:
    • At least 18 years old.
    • Possess a valid NC CDL (Commercial Driver's License) with P (Passenger) and S (School Bus) Endorsements and a clean driving record.
    • Pass a pre-employment criminal background check.
    • Pass a pre-employment drug test.
    • School Bus Driver Training Checklist:
    • For those drivers that are new to North Carolina, or that reside in North Carolina, but do not have a CDL, training classes are mandatory prior to getting behind the wheel. All candidates are pre-screened before inviting them to the training classes. Below is a brief summary of the process.
    • Apply to Orange County Schools
    • Background check.
    • Selected to attend training class by interview panel.
    • Successfully pass written tests for their Commercial Driver's License.
    • Pass a pre-employment drug test.
    • Obtain a DOT Medical Card.
    • Obtain a Class B Learner's Permit and hold for 14 days.
    • Successfully pass three days of on-the-road training with DMV Driver Trainer.
    • All criteria listed above must also be met before employment.

    Please Read...

    NC School Bus Driver Handout

    Commercial Driver License Manual

    Transportation Department Overview

    Each day, more than 3500 students ride a school bus operated by the Orange County Schools Transportation Department. Each year the district’s buses travel more than 1,258,151 miles. The Transportation Department employs 64 bus drivers, eight technicians who work in Hillsborough and Chapel Hill, and six office staff.

    The Orange County Transportation Department oversees the operation of 142 school buses. In addition, the district has additional activity buses that are also used to transport students to field trips and sporting events.

    OCS Transportation Parent/Student Guidelines and Expectations 2023-2024

    (OCS Transporte Guía para Padres y Estudiantes y Expectativas 2023-2024)

    Student Discipline and Code of Conduct Policy

    Student Transportation Management Policy

    Student Transportation Safety Policy