RTD says a strong economy is the reason for its bus driver shortage

A really good economy gives people options, making it tough to hire and tough to retain bus drivers.

NEXT WITH KYLE CLARK - Our Next Question is about the beloved Regional Transportation District. No, the question isn't whether or not the A-line is working today. 

This question was spotted on RTD's Twitter account. 

Matt Layman was on the East Alameda limited route on Monday when he tweeted this, asking why he had to give his bus driver directions:

RTD replied in two minutes (there are definitely no delays in their Twitter game) that it's because they're short on drivers, and some of them are filling in on unusual routes:

RTD spokesperson Nate Currey stopped by on Tuesday for an interview, and we had to ask him about this.

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"We're about 120 drivers bus operators short, and it's been that way since I've been there, for almost two years," Currey said. "So you know, when you've got a really good economy, like we do, people have options, and it's tough to hire. It's tough to retain. The sole joke that I got is, 'In 2018 we're going to make buses sexy again.' It's kind of tongue and cheek, but 70 percent of our business is bus, and yet, the majority of our attention is at the rail right now. Our operators do an amazing job. They deal with a lot of crap. They're really professional and they do a good job. Occasionally they get lost, especially if they're new. But if you can imagine driving that huge bus, dealing with a bunch of people, trying to make every single stop - it's kind of like that Seinfeld Kramer episode where he's trying to make every single stop."

RTD bus drivers and train operators get a $2,000 signing bonus and make $16.59 in an hour. They make more for working early and late hours, or split shifts. 

WATCH the full interview with RTD spokesperson Nate Currey:

 

Have a question you want to ask? Get our attention by using #HeyNext on twitter or email us at Next@9news.com.

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