Bus operator shortage leading to fewer services; Triangle transit agencies, advocacy group working to fill positions

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — You see them everywhere – from downtown areas to neighborhood streets.

However, a lack of people willing to get behind the wheel will soon lead to seeing fewer transit buses on the road.

GoTriangle recently announced there is a shortage of bus operators. It is forcing them to temporarily trim service on eight routes starting June 13.

“I’ve really seen what these bus operators go through,” said Dwight Spencer.

Spencer is the executive director for the North Carolina Transit Workers Association. It’s an advocacy group for transit workers.

“We believe the root of the problem is pay number one. They can go to Walmart or Target and make $15 an hour with less stress and an easy schedule, you know,” he explained.

However, a spokesperson for GoTriangle said there’s a bus operator shortage across the country.

“Eighty percent of the folks that ride our buses in Durham don’t have a car. So, this is essential,” said Durham Mayor Steve Schewel.

Spencer said his group is working to help improve relationships between workers and management with GoRaleigh to help with retention. He also said they are working to help recruit drivers.

“We want to encourage younger people to become public transit bus operators if they love dealing with people and if they love driving. I think it’s a great opportunity for them,” said Spencer.

GoTriangle and five other transit agencies are having a job fair together from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15, at GoTriangle’s offices on Emperor Boulevard in Durham.

A Commercial Driver’s License is not required to apply. Click here for more information.

GoTriangle said representatives from Chapel Hill Transit, GoCary, GoDurham, GoRaleigh, GoTriangle, and GoWake ACCESS will be on-site to interview potential bus and paratransit operators and will be ready that day to offer people jobs.

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