ST. LOUIS – Bus riders across St. Louis are having a hard time maneuvering around the area as Bi-State cut service due to driver shortage.
One rider Orlanda Jackson said she has a number of health issues including a heart condition. She said the service cut put her in a tough position.
“I’m four minutes from my job. It takes me an hour and a half to get home. I take the bus to work and to handle other business. But at this time, well after 7 o’clock I have no way home,” she said.
Bi-State said it had to cut between 10 and 15 percent of bus service due to a lack of drivers. The reduced frequency of service means long waits for hundreds of people who depend on public transportation.
”I know they’re short of bus drivers since the pandemic but you still have to accommodate us because we pay for their services,” Jackson said. “Every time, I call no one calls me back the only time I call back is when they say ‘Oh, we’re going to fix the problem.”’
Taulby Roach, CEO, and president of Bi-State Development said they are working towards fixing the issue but he encouraged riders to be patient.
”Certainly in the hundreds are affected, we have the service dynamics in this effect but what I can just ask is everybody be patient. We’re doing our best to get our service out there,” Roach said. “We’re going to go ahead with these bonuses, we’re going to continue to work with our union partners to move pay rates up so that we make these competitive jobs in today’s marketplace.”
Roach said they are doing their best to obtain more drivers.
“Boy, I would love for it to be over tomorrow. The reality is we have to work on it every single day, every single week, every single month. As a matter of fact, on the second Saturday, we are having open job fairs. That is our central facility down at Compton, please come bring your resume these are great jobs at Metro and you can move to St. Louis.”
He said the efforts are starting to pay off. He said he hired 300 new drivers, but it’s still not enough.