Twice a year Community Transit changes its bus schedules to introduce new routes or trips, and to adjust to changing traffic patterns. The fall 2022 service change takes effect Sept. 18 and will have no new route changes, but some trip time adjustments. Please check the new schedules online.
More importantly, we will introduce a new way to make your trip more reliable so that you have better confidence when your bus will run, or not.
It’s an interesting time for the transit industry, as well as all agencies and companies involved in transportation and logistics. The labor market is affecting everyone across the board.
The American Public Transit Association (APTA) did a survey recently and found that 90 percent of transit agencies nationwide are struggling with recruitment. About two-thirds of those agencies are struggling with retention and many are experiencing excessive levels of turnover and are considering service reductions as a result.
At Community Transit, we’ve hired 87 people this year. We’ve promoted 50 deserving employees, many of them drivers, and lost another 57 people to regular attrition, mostly retirements. So, despite good hiring numbers, we are treading water and gaining only slightly on the staffing challenge.
This is taking place as we are on the cusp of trying to increase service to prepare for light rail’s arrival in Snohomish County. The problem is not a funding issue, and it’s not an equipment issue. It’s the availability of labor. We want to provide the service we’ve committed to but we are not providing it at the level of reliability that we would like.
We believe it is important to prioritize reliability over frequency in the near term. We want you to be able to count on the bus being there when you need it. To that end, as we implement our fall schedule, we are announcing some temporary canceled trips on our 400-series routes to downtown Seattle and on the Sound Transit Express bus service (500-series routes) that we operate. A list of those trips that will not run is available on our service change webpage. This will enable Community Transit to maximize dependability for riders.
As we add more drivers, we will add those trips back to service. This will give our riders more confidence in knowing which trips are running, and which are not, each day.
We have an aggressive hiring program in place and are doing whatever we can to bring new drivers on board while maintaining the quality service we have always provided. We appreciate your patience and thank you for your trust. And if you know someone who is looking for a career change, send them this link: communitytransit.org/drive4us.