Several Halifax Transit bus trips cancelled due to staff shortage
City intends to bring the trips back as soon as possible
Ridership numbers and driver shifts are some factors behind a series of Halifax Transit bus trip cancellations that began Monday, according to HRM.
HRM spokesperson Ryan Nearing said in an emailed statement the city expects the disruptions to last a few weeks. It intends to bring the trips back as soon as possible.
"The intention is to keep service reductions limited to these select trips, however, there may be day to day fluctuations," Nearing said.
The city announced the disruptions Friday, noting that conventional bus service would be impacted due to "current staff availability."
Fifteen bus routes are affected and 22 early-morning trips have been cancelled.
Cancellations across multiple routes
Nearing said that several factors were considered in deciding which trips to axe, including the shift structure for drivers.
The city also tried to distribute the trip cancellations across multiple routes, though there are five that have had more than one trip cancelled.
Nearing said that bus drivers are being recruited.
Dartmouth resident Courtney Linders took to social media to air her grievances about the changes.
The trip she usually takes on Route 158 was cut, and she said in an interview she'll have to take an earlier bus to get into downtown Halifax on time for work starting Tuesday.
"It's personally irritating," she said. "It appears to be the express buses that are getting cancelled, the routes that take people to work."
City must pay transit workers more, says union
The staffing issues plaguing the transit system are something that Shane O'Leary, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union 508, says is due to lack of support from the city.
"Being a transit operator has gone from a career to a job people pass through,'' O'Leary said. "The city can't retain employees. It's absolutely their fault."
He said wages for drivers aren't high enough and employees are overworked.
"They're being pushed too far by the city, and a lot of them are just walking away. A lot of them are [going into] early retirement."
O'Leary said bus drivers are often harassed and yelled at by the public for cancellations or delays and he views those incidents as the city's responsibility.
"I want the public to understand that the transit driver, the guy working on the ferry, the guy working to keep these vehicles moving, they don't make up the schedules. They don't make up the rules."
With files from Adam Inniss