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San Luis Obispo limits bus routes due to driver shortage

Courtesy: City of SLO
SLO Transit is operating a reduced number of bus routes due to a driver shortage.

The City of San Luis Obispo is operating fewer bus routes right now due to a driver shortage.

Jesse Stanley is a transit assistant for SLO Transit. He said the lack of drivers is lining up with the nationwide labor shortage.

“It’s a little difficult to pinpoint one specific reason. It seems more like compounded reasons,” Stanley said. “When the pandemic hit last year, many transit agencies reduced their service greatly.”

He said many former bus drivers sought employment opportunities elsewhere during that time. Stanley said SLO Transit also had some employees retire.

Stanley said SLO Transit hasn’t seen many employment applications. He said the training for new drivers lasts at least six weeks before they can get behind the wheel, so bringing service back is a long process.

Because of this, SLO Transit is operating under modified service.

Certain routes like the 1b, 2b, San Luis Tripper, Laguna Tripper, Highland Tripper, 6 Express and Trolley are suspended.

Other routes are running during early mornings and late evenings to accommodate more riders.

“Certain services have been suspended until further notice while we’ve reactivated our core service,” Stanley said. “You’re still able to make it to your bus stop. It might just take a little extra planning or taking an earlier trip to avoid overcrowding on the buses.”

Stanley said SLO Transit plans to reinstate service as they bring on more drivers, although there is no timeline for when that may happen.

“We are seeing our operations contractor hiring drivers and there have been a few recently that have been hired. So we are anticipating, after they go through the process of training, reimplementing service.”

For more information on routes and schedules, you can contact SLO Transit by phone at (805) 541-2877.

You can also learn more by visiting slotransit.org.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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