Starting Monday the City of Gainesville’s Regional Transit System (RTS) will temporarily reduce bus service due to decreased ridership and staffing shortages.
“It’s gone from 47,000 passengers a day before COVID to 23,000,” said City of Gainesville spokesperson Rossana Passaniti.
On the affected routes the number of buses in service is only going down from 102 to around 92 to 93 buses, Passaniti said.
“The good news is that for most of those routes, that is going to mean an addition of maybe three to five minutes of waiting time,” she said, noting the exception of Route 36, which will increase by 30 minutes. “We’re working really hard to be flexible, but of course we have to adjust based on ridership and our personnel.”
Passaniti added that RTS has 217 driver positions but only 170 are filled right now. The typical number of openings is around 10.
“We’re approaching 50 vacant positions,” she said. “We’re actively working, like many municipalities across the country, to attract drivers, and, in fact, the pay will go up in January. For those who are applying who are trained and become transit operators with a commercial Class B license, then the pay goes up to $16 an hour.”
RTS is directing anyone seeking employment to either attend a hiring event or to apply online at the City of Gainesville’s careers page.
For additional questions or customer assistance, RTS’s customer service line is 352-334-2600 ext. 1.
And a reminder for anyone riding on RTS, that federal law mandates that masks must be worn at all times.