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RTC warns of potential service changes due to driver shortage

The RTC is warning of potential impacts on bus routes due to a regional and nationwide driver...
The RTC is warning of potential impacts on bus routes due to a regional and nationwide driver shortage.(Regional Transportation Commission)
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 12:08 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Regional Transportation Commission on Thursday warned of potential service changes beginning in January due to staffing shortages.

The RTC pointed to the pandemic as the main reason for the lack of drivers both regionally and nationwide, and said the lack of staff has already led to missed trips and delays for passengers.

“We hope that our transit-service contractors are able to hire more staff so that RTC does not need to implement these service modifications; however, we are planning ahead for potential transit service reductions to improve service reliability for our passengers in anticipation of a continuing labor shortage in our region,” said RTC Executive Director Bill Thomas.

As part of the process, RTC, Keolis, and MTM staff have been analyzing bus routes to identify and implement solutions to address the driver shortage. RTC staff is proposing modifying the bus routes that would impact the fewest number of people and would reallocate drivers for routes that handle the most riders.

The RTC is proposing the changes listed below, which would take effect in January 2022, if the contractors are not able to hire additional drivers. Should the driver shortage end before January they do not anticipate the reduction in service will be implemented.

RTC RIDE Fixed-Route Service Proposed Changes:

  • Route 9: Eliminate three weekday trips between 5 a.m.- 6:36 a.m., six weekday trips between 9:56 p.m. – 1:21 a.m., three Saturday trips from 5 a.m. – 6:36 a.m. and one trip between 1 a.m. and 1:31 a.m., and two Sunday trips between 5:29 a.m. – 6:26 a.m.
  • Route 13: Eliminate two weekday trips between 6:15 a.m. – 6:57 a.m.
  • Route 16: Eliminate two Saturday trips between 6:15 a.m. – 6:39 a.m., and two Saturday trips between 7:15 p.m. - 7:40 p.m.
  • Route 21: Eliminate two weekday trips between 4:20 a.m. – 4:54 a.m. and one weekday trip between 12:06 a.m. – 12:22 a.m.
  • Route 26: Eliminate 16 weekday trips between 7:35 p.m. – 11:39 p.m., two Sunday trips between 6:05 a.m. – 6:35 a.m., and two Sunday trips between 9:05 p.m. and 9:34 p.m.

RTC ACCESS Proposed Changes:

  • Modified reservation times from current hours of Monday-Friday 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. and weekends and holidays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., to proposed hours of Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and weekends and holidays 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Reduction of service to match legal ADA standards.
  • Increase agreements with private providers, such as Uber and taxi companies, to provide additional options for non-ADA trips to reduce the burden on RTC ACCESS fleet.

RTC FlexRIDE Proposed Changes:

  • Service hour adjustments to:
  • Sparks-Spanish Springs FlexRIDE: Change hours of operation from current hours of Monday – Friday from 5:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. to proposed hours of Monday-Friday 5:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., and weekend hours of operation from current hours of 6 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. to proposed hours of 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • North Valleys FlexRIDE: Change hours of operation from current hours of Monday – Friday from 5:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. to proposed hours of Monday-Friday 5:30 a.m. – 9 p.m., and weekend hours of operation from current hours of 6:20 a.m. – 9 p.m. to proposed hours of 6:20 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Verdi-Somersett FlexRIDE: Change hours of operation from current hours of Monday – Friday from 5:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. to proposed hours of Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., and weekend hours of operation from current hours of 6:20 a.m. – 9 p.m. to proposed hours of 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Discontinuation of Incline Village-Sand Harbor Pilot Program, depending on driver availability.

The RTC is seeking public input on the proposed service reductions. Transit passengers are encouraged to watch this video detailing the proposed service changes and send comments to mdulude@rtcwashoe.com, or call (775) 335-1904.

Keolis is offering a $2,000 sign-on bonus, paid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training, and referral bonuses.

MTM is offering a $1,500 sign-on bonus, no CDL required, and referral bonuses.

The RTC encourages interested individuals to apply on Keolis and MTM’s websites.

For more information, or to see current bus schedules, visit rtcwashoe.com.

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