GoRaleigh temporarily limits service citing driver shortage

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ByCindy Bae via WTVD logo
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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GoRaleigh is running some buses less frequently on 11 routes starting Sept. 11.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- For Raleigh resident Orentheal Woodard, getting to work on time takes patience.

Starting in September, it'll require more patience from Woodard, who may have to wait up to an hour to catch a GoRaleigh bus.

"It's been real hectic for me," Woodard said. "Because sometimes I get to work late, and I don't like to be late for work."

Woodard takes 36 Creedmoor to the Crabtree Valley Mall to then get on the 16 to Cameron Village.

"My bus is late probably about three times a week," Woodard said. "Sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn't. They have missed stops, and I just have to wait an hour and a half, two hours, for another bus to come."

GoRaleigh is running some buses less frequently on 11 routes starting Sept. 11.

The city's transportation supervisor, David Walker, said they looked at routes with low ridership to reduce it to hourly service and only one route will be reduced to a 30-minute frequency.

"Currently due to the bus operator shortage, several trips per day are missed randomly depending on the operator availability," GoRaleigh said. "The reduction in service will allow GoRaleigh to restore confidence and reliability to their service by announcing the trips that will no longer be operated temporarily."

There are 185 drivers when the target is to have 215. Walker said that by raising pay and offering training, they hope to recruit 30 more.

"We have held a job fair recently," Walker said. "It was fairly successful. They got about eight or nine candidates for bus operators, so that was a really good start."

GoRaleigh increased the starting driver wage by a little more than $2 per hour to $19 per hour to start, according to Walker. In addition, new bus operators receive guaranteed annual increases to reach top pay of $27 per hour in four years.

"They also have started offering CDL training, that's commercial driver's license," Walker said.

Despite the reductions, Walker said they hope to return to full service by January without having to stop any routes.

"We're just reducing frequencies on those 12 routes that are listed and we looked at the ridership to make sure that you know, we didn't overcrowd buses when we made those reductions," Walker said. "We definitely are putting this out as a temporary effort to give us time to get caught up, get some new employees behind the wheel."