MetroBus driver shortage leaves riders left waiting in the heat, aggravated

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ST. LOUIS – The special Redbird Express bus service was canceled for Monday’s Cardinals-Brewers game. The decision came as part of another Metro bus driver shortage.

Some bus riders said they got so tired and hot waiting for their bus that they got on another bus going another way just to get into the air conditioning.

Long lines of people were spotted at bus stops around the St. Louis area.

Metro said an unusually high number of bus operators called off work and the transit agency would be unable to serve all afternoon and evening bus trips.

Riders said they’re experiencing delays anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.

“Me and my brother waited 38 minutes and one just rode passed and didn’t even stop to pick us up,” said rider Cierra Hatchett. “You know, it’s really upsetting.”

Customers should plan ahead for delays, a Metro spokesperson said.

This action comes as Metro and the drivers union (Amalgamated Transit Local 788) attempt to hammer out a new contract. This is the latest day that a high number of Metro bus drivers and train operators have called off work in the last month.

“I came out and waited for the bus and one didn’t show up and when another one was supposed to come it didn’t show up and it was about another half-an-hour late, so I caught it going the other way to make sure that I could get out of the heat,” said bus rider Stacey Talley.

And rider Ariuna Thomas added: “I pretty much feel like if they would get their raises they would be here. You feel me. I mean you work hard for not to get tour raise, who is going to actually continue to work and you do not get a raise.”

Metro said MetroLink train service would also be affected from an operator shortage. Blue line trains would only operate between the Shrewsbury-Landsdowne I-44 and Forest Park-De Balieviere MetroLink stations from 7 p.m. until the end of service Monday.

Red line and blue line MetroLink service would operate on a 20-minute frequency, with delays up to 10 minutes.

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