SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — Spartanburg city leaders said they’re short staffed on bus drivers and it’s impacting some Sparta bus routes.
“We have a lot of folks who depend on the bus for transit,” said Christopher George, the communications manager for the city.
Temporary changes to some routes are forcing bus riders to change their plans too.
“It’s every day I use the bus,” said bus rider William Martin. “It’s the only way I can get around, instead of walking.”
Martin said he doesn’t have a car and said adjustments to popular routes could affect his commute.
“You’re expecting so go somewhere and you don’t get to go, so it’s hard that way,” said Martin.
“They’re shifting to the Saturday schedule early, which basically just means that the afternoon schedule gets cut off earlier in the day than would normally be the case,” said George.
It’s a temporary change for the routes, but the cause is an ongoing issue in the city.
“It’s a driver shortage. It’s something we’ve been dealing off and on for this entire year and back in the previous year too,” said George.
City leaders said it’s an inconvenience for riders, but they try to lessen the impact along the routes.
“The highest need that we see on North Church Street and South Church Street is often people who are either going to the store or they’re going to doctor’s appointments. Our highest ridership is in the morning,” said George.
He said by changing these routes in the afternoon, it will affect fewer riders.
“Trimming those hours instead of the routes that go east and west, which go out to our commercial areas, because those get higher ridership in the afternoon than the North and South Church,” said George.
He also said they’re looking to hire four bus drivers to bring the department to full staff and keep routes running as usual.
“It’s a wonderful position, particularly if you’re a people person. Our drivers, we’ve got some great drivers who really love this community and it’s a good position for folks. It’s got good benefits. It’s a really great opportunity for the right candidates for sure,” said George.
To become a Sparta bus driver, people also need a CDL license and have a clean driving record for 10 years. Pay starts at $15.12 an hour.