'It will still come': GoRaleigh makes changes to bus routes due to driver shortage

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Monday, September 12, 2022
GoRaleigh makes changes to bus routes due to driver shortage
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Residents talk about challenges after GoRaleigh announces new bus route changes due to driver shortage.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- What should have been a 30-minute wait for Richard Hollingsworth a month ago, turned into a game of wait and see. Hollingsworth said he was waiting on the GoRaleigh bus near Falls of Neuse Road, but it took hours to show up.

" I couldn't catch the bus because it didn't come back down for two hours when there's supposed to be only 30 minutes. Even if when they're running behind on the hour," he said.

Hollingsworth has been riding the GoRaleigh bus for several years. He said the last few months have been a challenge. He described buses showing up late or not at all

Raleigh's Transportation Supervisor David Walker said the challenges some riders are experiencing are due to a driver shortage.

"We just couldn't get enough volunteers to sign up for extra work. So, we've been relying on that for the last six months to a year, drivers enjoy getting overtime, but after a certain point, everybody starts getting tired. And that's kind of what's happened," explained Walker. "So, it became harder and harder to get those volunteers. And therefore, we started missing trips."

Now the transit service is at the point where they are reducing the frequency of service to provide a better and more consistent service. On Sunday, September 11th, GoRaleigh implemented changes to about a dozen of its bus routes.

Here is a list of the impacted routes:

Routes reduced to hourly frequency are:

  • 3, 7L, 10, 12, 18/18S
  • 23L, 24L, 26, 27, 36, 40X

Route reduced to 30-minute frequency:

  • 19

Buses with pickups every half hour were moved to every hour.

Bus number 19 that made stops at places like Chavis Park, Wake County Human Services, Shaw University, and Wake Tech will now run every 30 minutes instead of every 15 minutes.

"If you're a rider, and you have to be at work, and you need that 6 am bus to get to work, it's still gonna be there. And if you don't get off till late, we're going to make sure that buses will still be there. It's not going to come as frequently during the peak periods, but it will still come," Walker added.

He also said the routes that are impacted were based primarily on ridership.

"If the route was only doing about 10 riders per hour, and it was currently in the peak periods, operating every 30 minutes, we felt comfortable with that route, even if we doubled the number to 20 riders per hour, we still got plenty of capacity left on that bus when it runs every 60 minutes," Walker said.

GoRaleigh is down about 30 drivers which has made it difficult to cover routes when a driver is out sick. To recruit more operators, the transit service increased pay from $17 an hour to $19. Walker said drivers are guaranteed a raise every year and can max out pay at $27.

Some passengers like Charles Bruckschen understands the challenges and plans to wait it out.

"I have been stranded, down here at the terminal for like one or two hours at a time," he said

Bruckschen is new to the GoRaleigh services but plans to wait it out until things improve.

"I know there's a shortage of drivers. So I know I have to just wait until it comes," he continued.

Walker said this move it temporary and they hope to have enough drivers by January. If you're interested in learning more about career opportunities with GoRaleigh, visit them here.