Bus driver shortage forces service changes and incentives

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.

The wheels on the city bus are going round and round a little less these days because there’s a shortage of people to drive them. “The drivers have been working extremely hard to cover shifts, working overtime to provide the service,” said GVT Transit Coordinator Andrew Gingerich.

Even the general manager, operations and safety supervisors are getting behind the wheel to get you where you need to go, but it’s not enough forcing GVT to adapt the only way they can, cutting service. Gingerich says, “Looking at ridership, looking at travel patterns and purpose, we believe that reducing the Saturday service, and then reducing the frequency on The Dash would have the least impact for our riders.”

But, it’s not just GVT experiencing a shortage of drivers because the Student Transportation of America needs school bus drivers to step up to help transport our most important resource. “Everyday it’s just a challenge as to how we’re going to get all the students picked up,” said Terminal Manager, Darrah Barnes, with the Student Transportation of America.

The STA is in the same situation as GVT, employees are wearing many different hats and their masks, and they’re getting burned out. Barnes says, “I have office staff driving morning and afternoon, our office is sometimes empty. We have mechanics driving morning and afternoon. We’re just doing everything we can to continue providing service.”

You need a CDL to drive a city bus, and a school bus which is a dot physical, a drug test, and a background check, but the STA will provide all the training, but if the purpose driven position isn’t enough, they’ll pay more and so will GVT. “We do have a hire on bonus of a $1,000,” said Barnes. “There will be a wage increase that begins the first of the year, and we’re hopeful that might help the situation as well,” said Gingerich.

The Dash service has changed from running every half hour to every hour and Saturday routes are starting three hours later and ending two hours earlier. The reduced Dash service is already in place, and the new Saturday schedule will start on November 6th. Click here for the full schedule.

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