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St. Louis to Lose Metro Bus Services for a Third Time

You are currently viewing St. Louis to Lose Metro Bus Services for a Third Time
Metro is experiencing low staffing for bus and MetroLink drivers.
  • Post category:News

Over the past seven months, Metro Transit has made cuts to their public transportation services twice before. This week they are making their third cut to their services due to staffing issues. The transportation agency has dealt with staffing shortages for the last few years and as such has had to make these cuts this year.

They announced they will be reducing services for thirty routes during weekday evenings and weekends.

Back in November of 2022, Metro suspended routes and reduced services and in March of 2022, they reduced their services across the board by 5%. During their first cut in March, they also had to reduce services through their system Call-A-Ride.

Originally, Metro released a statement claiming that this round of cuts is just because of a regular “quarterly change.” However, the COO of the agency, Chuck Stewart, himself spoke to the cause also being from a struggle to find and keep enough employees. He said that they are having to learn to adjust in order to balance their resources with the demands they have from customers.

That is why thus far they are cutting services in low-serviced areas at low-servicing times.

In the area, Metro is supposedly short-staffed and under their employee count by about 240 bus drivers, 15 MetroLink drivers, and at least 80 Call-A-Ride drivers. This means that they are missing about 30% of their budgeted bus driving staff, 16% of their budgeted MetroLink driving staff, and 44% of their budgeted Call-A-Ride drivers.

The agency is hoping things will turn around for them soon though. They are currently negotiating with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788, a local union that represents transit employees in St. Louis. The negotiations are working to better work-life balance for the transit employees in the city. According to the COO, Metro’s contracts with the union offer far more protection and benefits for union members than other agencies.

The COO said in his statement that he blames other competitors and the current economic environment going on in St. Louis for their struggle to find employees. He said they are dealing with some other companies requiring employees to drive with the CDL while simultaneously dealing with an aging population. To try and combat the ongoing employment struggles, they have begun implementing several practices to entice more applicants. They have also begun to alter their requirements for employees, for example by lowering the age requirement for Call-A-Ride drivers from 21 to 18 years old.

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