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Bus Driver Shortage Causes Metro To Slash Service Citywide

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — One in long line of industry's suffering at the hands of the pandemic, "The Great American Sickout" and "The Great Resignation," is Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation, who have had to slash several bus services throughout the city due to a shortage of bus drivers.

Now, riders throughout the Southland are experiencing frustration due to delays and interruptions of service.

"They're late all the time, and sometimes they don't even show," said Julie Peters, who has been riding the Metro buses for 30 years now, detailing how she once waited for two hours at a bus stop, but more often the buses are showing up anywhere between 20-30 minutes late, if at all.

Because of the late arrivals and lower amount of rides, "we're all squished in there like sardines," she continued.

Metro officials reported that hundreds of workers have been impacted just since the beginning of the new year, according to Joe Forgiarini, a Senior Director with Metro,"We've seen about 400 operators impact this month, and we aren't even through (January)," he said.

He continued to mention that their services have been reduced by nearly 15% systemwide. Since the impact has been considerably bad in some areas of the city, they have decided to cut services by about 10% - across bus and rail lines - until they can return to pre-pandemic levels of staffing, especially with how badly the Omicron surge decimated their workforce.

They aren't the only ones looking for drivers either, as Lyft, Uber and Amazon are also having a hard time filling positions. Despite everything, they hope to return to normalcy by June, by which time they plan to have filled the 600 positions available for bus and rail operators.

In response, Metro is offering a $3,000 sign on bonus to entice new workers.

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