Calgary

Calgary Transit reducing service as COVID-19 impacts staff levels

Calgary Transit will be temporarily reducing service starting Monday in anticipation of staff off sick with COVID-19. 

Route changes start Monday, Calgary Transit says

Calgary Transit says COVID-19 is impacting its staff levels. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Calgary Transit will be temporarily reducing service starting Monday in anticipation of staff off sick with COVID-19.

Calgary Transit said Sunday that the rapidly spreading COVID-19 Omicron variant is impacting its staff levels, which has led to some unexpected service changes in recent weeks. 

Mike Mahar, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 583, says there were about 120 routes cancelled last Monday, and that number has since increased. 

He says there are about 300 bus drivers, 60 community shuttle operators and about 18 CTrain drivers who are off sick. 

"I just hope people are able to readjust their schedules, so they still get to where they need to go on time without having to be overcrowded," Maher said. 

"It's just going to increase the crowds in those areas." 

He said COVID-19 has had a number of impacts on transit service. Earlier in the  pandemic, some staff were laid off due to lower ridership.

Between attrition and layoffs, the staff has shrunk by about 350 operators over the past two years, he said.

"Unfortunately when people were off for that long with no commitment to be brought back, a lot of them left and never came back," he said. 

"But the staffing shortages are the problem. And that's just going to make the buses that much more crowded." 

He said it's not known how long the transit shortage will last. 

Calgary Transit says riders should check their route schedule prior to taking a trip.

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