The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County is anticipating potential transit service changes beginning in January due to unprecedented staffing shortages of drivers regionally and nationwide, a consequence of the pandemic. RTC RIDE operator Keolis and RTC ACCESS paratransit operator MTM are both currently lacking enough staff to deliver transit services at currently scheduled levels, which has caused missed trips and delays for passengers.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (775) 335-1904.
“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 we 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 Saturday 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.
Both Keolis and MTM have ramped up recruitment efforts to attract new applicants.
Keolis is offering a $2,000 sign-on bonus, paid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training, referral bonuses and more! To help recruit applicants, Keolis hosts bi-weekly job fairs, has printed banners near fleet facilities, placed ads on RTC buses, posts jobs on social media and job-seeker websites, placed television advertising, and more. Keolis also has a full-time recruiter on staff.
MTM is offering a $1,500 sign-on bonus, no CDL required, referral bonuses and more. MTM is advertising on social media, recruiting websites and Spotify. MTM also has banners posted near fleet facilities.
For more information, or to see current bus schedules, please visit rtcwashoe.com.