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St. Louis MetroBus service cuts coming due to worker shortage

Officials are trying to find more workers by organizing job fairs, offering $2,000 hiring bonuses and trying to bring back some retired operators

ST. LOUIS — Bus service will be reduced in St. Louis along more than three dozen routes this week because of a significant worker shortage.

“It’s my everything,” said Ronald Romans Jr.  “I don’t own a vehicle, and I don’t drive, so my only means of transportation and keeping an income for me and my little one.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Metro Transit currently has about 150 openings it is struggling to fill with most of those jobs being driver positions. Normally the agency employs about 2,300 people.

“Our employment crisis is at such a depth that we had to reduce service temporarily while we try to increase our employment,” said Taulby Roach, the president and CEO of Bi-State Development, the agency that oversees Metro Transit. “We had to make a hard decision about what we could reasonably sustain.”

“There are going to be people in the community who lose out on working, on being able to take their kids to daycare, being able to go grocery shopping, and you know just basic necessities just because they’re having a shortage in drivers," said Romans Jr.

Officials are trying to find more workers by organizing job fairs, offering $2,000 hiring bonuses and trying to bring back some retired operators, but they've had only limited success with those efforts.

Roach said that Metro is “literally begging for employees” currently.

So starting Monday, Metro Transit will reduce service along 38 bus routes and suspend service entirely on six other lines.

Roach said Metro has “never had a circumstance where we were literally begging for employees” as is now the case.

“Maybe they need to contract that out," said Romans Jr.  "There has to be a better solution than just eliminating service to a lot of areas of St. Louis.”

Even before this week’s planned cuts riders said no-show buses and long waits had become increasingly common in recent months.

“If one of the bus routes that I take is eliminated I’ll have to possibly carpool with someone back and forth to work until we figure the situation out," said Joseph Williams.

The following information is provided by Metro Transit.

Details for November 29 Service Change

Temporarily Suspended MetroBus Routes

  • #46 Tesson Ferry
  • #65 Outer Forty
  • #57X Clayton Road
  • #58X Twin Oaks Express
  • #73X I-55 Express
  • #410X Eureka Express

Service on these routes will be temporarily suspended beginning on November 29. Via Metro STL will be available for riders of the #46 Tesson Ferry and riders who use the #65 Outer Forty west of I-270, and it may be an option for express route riders. Via Metro STL is an on-demand transit service that allows transit riders to hail a ride using the Via app when needed – no schedules or advance booking required. With Via Metro STL, riders can travel between any two locations in the service zone for $2, or with a valid Metro Transit pass, can transfer from MetroBus or MetroLink to Via Metro STL for free. Visit metrostlouis.org/via for more information.

MetroBus Service Ending at 8 p.m.

  • #60 Shepley-Lilac
  • #78 Bellefontaine
  • #79 Ferguson

Evening service in North St. Louis County will be available through Via Metro STL from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week. Visit metrostlouis.org/via for more information.

Schedule, Route and Service Frequency Adjustments

  • #4 Natural Bridge
  • #9 Oakville
  • #10 Gravois-Lindell
  • #11 Chippewa
  • #19 St. Louis Ave.
  • #21 Watson
  • #30 Arsenal
  • #31 Chouteau
  • #32 Dr. ML King
  • #33 Midland
  • #35 Rock Road
  • #40 N. Broadway
  • #41 Lee
  • #47 Hanley
  • #49 Lindbergh
  • #56 Kirkwood-Webster
  • #57 Manchester
  • #58 Chesterfield Valley
  • #60 Shepley-Lilac
  • #61 Chambers Rd.
  • #64 Lucas-Hunt
  • #71 Patterson-Redman
  • #73 Carondelet
  • #76 McDonnell-Waterford
  • #77 Village Square
  • #78 Bellefontaine
  • #79 Ferguson
  • #91 Olive
  • #94 Page
  • #97 Delmar
  • #98 Ballas-North Hanley
  • #174X Halls Ferry Express

New schedules and route maps for all of the adjusted MetroBus routes are available at MetroStLouis.org and the Transit app.

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