Youngstown WRTA driver shortage could lead to canceled routes this weekend
WRTA riders could be left out in the cold while the bus company deals with issues filling drivers positions.
The 80 Youngstown bus drivers are part of the Amalgamated Transit Union and have been negotiating for a new contract since last November. Wills said the negotiations have been taking so long because people from both sides have been out on leave of absence due to personal reasons often.
“Wages is everywhere. We just want something to be able to keep up with the cost of living,” the local union representative Tenessa Wills said about what they are looking to improve in the new contract.
The drivers also want a new contract to change the way they’re scheduled. Right now, most drivers are Monday through Friday shifts. WRTA relies on drivers to volunteer for over-time work to come in on Saturday's to cover the routes.
“Last week we didn't have enough volunteers … and a lot of routes got missed,” Wills said.
Over the weekend, WRTA missed 20 trips because they didn’t have enough drivers. The drivers are not on strike but a source close to the negotiations said that volunteer drivers will not be coming in until a contract is agreed on.
The next negotiation meeting is on Monday, Nov. 6. That means, routes could be missed again on Saturday, Nov. 4 since nothing will be agreed upon before the meeting.
The WRTA Executive Director, Dean Harris told 21 News that they are reviewing their options on how to fill those driver positions and will let people know by Friday, Nov.5 if trips won’t happen.
Riders can check if a route has been canceled through the WRTA MyStop App.