Recent boosts in bus service in Seattle and around the county are helping Metro meet longstanding rider demand. As a result of adding service in June and September, we now have more than 2,500 bus drivers and 11,500 trips scheduled each weekday – an increase of 600 trips a day. But increasing the number of bus trips meant we needed to hire hundreds of new bus drivers. Since January, we’ve hired or promoted over 500 part-time and full-time drivers—and we’re still hiring.
The challenge has been delivering some peak-period commute trips. Unfortunately, we sometimes had to cancel trips unexpectedly. Some recent weeks have been hard on riders because of canceled trips—they’ve had to wait for the next bus that comes.
Our peak times are when we need to have the most buses and drivers on the street, but we’ve had to pull some part-time drivers away for a week at a time to complete training to do full-time work. The good news is that another class of full-time drivers graduated today. These drivers started as Metro part-time operators with shifts primarily during peak commutes. Now they will have all-day routes or work as back-up drivers to fill trips where a driver isn’t available. We also recently graduated a batch of new part-time operators who are working peak commute times, getting workers to their jobs and students to class. With new and promoted drivers now heading out on the road, riders can expect improved service in coming weeks.
Behind the scenes, Metro’s staff continues to work hard every day to put as much service on the road as possible, finding ways to fill trips that might otherwise have been canceled. Thanks go especially to those Metro drivers who step up and substitute when a driver isn’t available, working overtime or adjusting their schedules to fill the need.
More driver graduation days are ahead as we prepare to ramp up service next spring. This year marks a period of fast, unprecedented growth in transit service, and we appreciate riders’ patience as we staff up to meet the need.