Driver shortage prompts TriMet to reduce bus service

Multnomah County

A TriMet bus in downtown Portland, July 29, 2020. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Beginning Monday, TriMet will reduce service on 20 of its 84 bus lines across the Portland metro area as the agency battles the most severe driver shortage in its history, officials said.

The agency cited employee attrition and a lack of new job applications as being responsible for the staffing crisis. TriMet said it will decrease service by about 9%, returning it to a level not seen since the start of the pandemic.

Officials said the following bus lines will have buses arriving less often on weekdays, and some lines may run fewer hours of the day:

  • Line 4-Fessenden
  • Line 8-Jackson Park/NE 15th
  • Line12-Barbur/Sandy Blvd
  • Line 15-Belmont/NW 23rd
  • Line 17-Holgate/Broadway
  • Line 21-Sandy Blvd/223rd
  • Line30-Estacada
  • Line 33-McLoughlin/King Rd
  • Line 35-Macadam/Greeley
  • Line 52-Farmington/185th
  • Line 54-Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy
  • Line 56-Scholls Ferry Rd
  • Line 62-Murray Blvd
  • Line 67-Bethany/158th
  • Line 70-12th/NE 33rd Ave
  • Line 71-60th Ave
  • Line 75-Cesar Chavez/Lombard
  • Line 76-Hall/Greenburg
  • Line 77-Broadway/Halsey
  • Line78-Denney/Kerr Pkwy

To attract more applicants, TriMet announced in November that newly hired bus operators would receive a $2,500 sign-on bonus in addition to driver’s hourly pay, which recently saw a $4 bump as the agency continued to try to fill vacancies.

TriMet said bus operators who have worked full-time for three years are guaranteed a yearly salary of $68,000, along with seven weeks of paid training and both health and retirement benefits.

For more information on the service reduction, visit TriMet’s original announcement here.

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