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Driver shortage and cut routes lead Mountain Metro to make changes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)--People who use public transportation in Colorado Springs and across El Paso County may have to find alternatives. Mountain Metro Transit is cutting routes because the labor shortage has left them without enough drivers to cover them all.

Mountain Metro is currently down 25 drivers out of 130, making it even more difficult for them to produce more routes. As of now, there is no restoration plan in sight.

Craig Blewitt, the director of the Mountain Metro Transit, says this current trend is very disappointing.

"You know it is very frustrating for all of us here at Mountain Metro, we have the funding to provide the service, we just don't have the drivers," Blewitt said.

As part of the reductions, Mountain Metro is no longer running routes 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 35, and 38.

One local college student says this has made an impact on her schedule.

"Sometimes I have to take an Uber or something like that, and you never know what is going to happen and you have to be ready to do what you have to do," said Selena Saldana, a Pikes Peak Community College student.

Mountain Metro Transit's contractor RATP Dev hires drivers, and they're even increasing pay for trainees from $15.50 to $17.50 an hour. RATP Dev also hired a recruiter specifically for the Colorado Springs area.

"We are working very closely with our contractor to recruit additional drivers, as new drivers come on we will be restoring service, we do not have a timeline at this time, but we are confident based on certain trends that we will be able to bring back some service within 30 days," said Blewitt.

Around this time two years ago, they were averaging about 11,000 riders a day, that number has now decreased to 6,000 a day.

A local resident who has been using public transportation for more than a decade says though these changes have not made a direct impact on her, she can see how this is affecting staff.

"We need more drivers! That's it!" said Charlotte Archy.

Though there is no timeline set for when full service will be back, Blewitt says this should not affect the free downtown shuttle service in May.

The Paratransit for those with disabilities has also not been impacted, since they are through a different contractor.

For more on bus routes you can head on over to their website.

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Jasmine Arenas

Jasmine is an MMJ and Anchor for Telemundo Surco and KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Jasmine here.

Comments

6 Comments

  1. Yet again, the pandemic targets those less fortunate. How many will lose their jobs? So strange that a recent article about the estimated 1,000 added apartment units,in downtown alone,touted enhanced bus service as a draw? That was also the justification for concerns regarding parking for all of the newbies.

  2. Imagine if the city stopped outsourcing nearly every city job? They would be able to pay more and also offer better benefits to their staff.

  3. also, you have to have a CDL. That is no small undertaking. The costs are yearly and you must take a written test every year as well to maintain it in Colorado.
    Truck-driving pays lots more, and without a load of screaming kids either.

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