MACOMB (WGEM) — McDonough County transit officials said they had to cut-back on routes this weekend because of their shortage in bus drivers and could have to do it again.
Glenn Bickley just moved to Macomb about a month ago from Arizona and uses McDonough County Public Transportation.
He said out of everywhere he’s lived, this system is the best he has seen so far.
"It’s amazing and it’s free and the drivers are really helpful," Bickley said.
Jeremy McBride has been driving for Go West for almost three years and said the recent driver shortage has him picking up more routes and riders having to find new routes.
"There bus has already done stopped running. So they got to find other opportunities to get back, but thankfully there’s other drivers will pick them up to where they need to go," McBride said.
McDonough County Public Transportation Transit Director Miranda Lambert said it’s crucial the driver shortage gets resolved because there’s a trickle down impact when there are not enough drivers.
"Our drivers are having to pick up additional routes, but we’re still working with them to make sure that they’re getting their time off, so that it does not lead to driver exhaustion," Lambert said.
Lambert said many drivers are taking time off for personal and medical reasons. She said typically they have up to 19 drivers running at a time, but this weekend they had 11.
"To address the shortage that we’re currently experiencing with Go West, Durham School Services, who is our third party supplier for our contractual services for drivers, is working on doing different marketing techniques," she said.
Bickley said he hasn’t felt the effects of the shortage, but is glad the county is doing something about it.
"You see each bus more than half-full dropping people off at the Walmart or at the Hy-Vee. So people really rely on it," he said.
Aside from the different marketing techniques Lambert said they’re doing to recruit new drivers, she said they’re offering a signing bonus of up to $1,500.
Lambert said it isn’t a problem if you want to be a driver, but don’t have a commercial drivers permit because they’ll train you.
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October 11, 2021 at 06:25PM