AUSTIN, Texas — If you grew up in Austin and rode the bus as a kid, there's a good chance Ida Collins was the one who was driving it. She's been doing it for 45 years.
A day in the life of Ida Collins means rising well before the sun does. Each day, she promptly reports to the AISD bus terminal, just as she has for the last four decades.
After checking in and greeting friends, Collins and Rucker linked arms and walked to the bus to check off the morning to-do list. First, they checked under the hood, then the tires. Collins also showed Rucker how to exit in case of an emergency.
"[To do this] you have to love children, and I love children," Collins said.
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After each stop, Collins carefully goes through her seating chart to see if anyone was missing that day. She knows small details about each child as if they were her own.
"I drove for a lot of their parents back when they were kids too," Collins said.
She uses Facebook to keep up with a lot of former students, and some of them write nice messages to her.
"One woman recently wrote to me, 'Once I met you, I wouldn't have made it through high school without you.' I just thought that was so sweet. I had no idea how much I impacted her," Collins said.
Right now, AISD is one of several local school districts experiencing a shortage of bus drivers. Collins said a commercial driver's license is required. One of those is good for eight years, and she said you will be reimbursed for it by the district once you receive a hard copy in the mail.
Right now, the starting pay for an AISD bus driver is $17 an hour. In July, that will be bumped up to $21 an hour.
Click here to see current open positions for AISD bus drivers.
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