Metro asks commuters to expect delays because of bus driver shortage

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. - Metro warns commuters a bus driver shortage could create delays if you are heading to the Cardinal game Tuesday night.

The big question on the minds of many Cardinals fans who catch the Red Bird Express at St. Clair Square is, 'Will they make it to the game for the first pitch?'
The St. Clair County Transit District popular Redbird Express Bus Service from St. Clair Square is available for all St Louis Cardinals home games. Cardinals fans say it takes the stress of game traffic, parking, gas expenses and it allows game goers a chance to sit back and enjoy the ride to and from the game.

However, on Wednesday metro officials said in a released statement:

"Due to a shortage of MetroBus operators and a higher than normal number of MetroBus operators calling off work or not being available for extra shifts, Metro Transit is encouraging MetroBus riders in Missouri and Illinois to allow extra time for their bus commutes today. While we are assigning other trained, qualified Metro personnel to drive MetroBus vehicles, unfortunately, that may not provide enough drivers to deliver the on-time quality service our customers and the region have come to depend on. We apologize for the inconvenience. Customers can check on their routes by calling Metro Transit Information at 314-231-2345 or texting 314-207-9786."

With low unemployment rates, Metro Transit is one of many transit agencies across the country finding it hard to attract and retain bus operators.

MetroLink and Metro Call-A-Ride service are not impacted by the shortage of MetroBus drivers. Baseball fans are encouraged to take MetroLink or the Red Bird Express to the game tonight.

However, Local 788 union leaders gave this account

“This is not a planned event, we are tired of being treated unfairly, so they choose not to work overtime,” said President Amalgamated Transit Local 788, Reginald Howard.

“We are not hiring enough people, we are doing the work our operators treated unfairly,” said Vice President Catina Wilson

The union contract expired on June 30, however they are continuing to honor the contract and they are in negotiations with Metro.

Customers with questions about their buses can call Metro Transit Information (314-231-2345), text (314-207-9786) or web chat at www.metrostlouis.org.

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