AKRON, Ohio — Metro RTA recently announced plans to reduce the frequency of certain bus routes due to a shortage of drivers.
The changes, which will begin Jan. 16, will impact Route 1 (West Market), Route 2 (Arlington) and the DASH service in downtown Akron, Metro RTA spokeswoman Molly Becker said in a press release.
"These changes were made to minimize the impact on our riders. While route one and two are our most popular routes, riders of these routes still have numerous times a day to utilize the services. The other times we removed were data-driven to have minimal impact to our riders. These changes are temporary and in response to labor shortages realized by nearly every industry across the country," Becker said.
Becker said Metro has lost 51 operators since January 2020 and is now short 40 to 45 drivers.
She added Metro did not replace many operators who were lost due to attrition after the spring of 2020 due to reduced demand caused by the pandemic.
But now that Metro has restored many of its services, Becker said officials hiring more operators is a top priority.
The starting wage for Metro RTA bus operators is $16.58 an hour. After five years, operators earn the top rate of $30.14 an hour.
"Being a professional bus operator for Metro RTA is a highly skilled trade and it takes a special type of person who is willing to work a challenging schedule, including nights, weekends and holidays; enjoys being with diverse groups of people; and has a deep understanding of the complexities of operating a large vehicle on the roads in and around Summit County," Becker said.
For details on your route, visit akronmetro.org or call 330-762-0341.