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Regional News

CENTRO to change service amid driver shortage

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Ellen Abbott
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WRVO Public Media File Photo

Starting Monday, September 13, central New York’s bus system, CENTRO, will now be operating on what they’re calling an “enhanced Saturday” schedule throughout the week, not just on Saturdays.

“That will be the Saturday service that is on the schedule right now, but we are going to add some suburban services on bus lines that don't operate on Saturdays to ensure that some individuals can get to and from work from the suburban locations within the city of Syracuse,” said Steven Koegel, Vice President of Communications and Business Planning, who says CENTRO.

Koegel said CENTRO is nearly 40 drivers short of being able to fully operate its normal schedule.

CENTRO isn’t the only organization struggling to recruit drivers–school districts, like Rochester’s, are starting the school year remotely because they can’t transport all of their students to school and Uber fare prices jumped up 30% in June because of a shortage of drivers according to their CEO.

“There's a human resource shortage right now that we're part of. It's just a very difficult time to hire individuals,” said Koegel.

He said CENTRO is trying everything they can think of to recruit drivers, even paying for their training and certification.

“We've been out advertised on television, radio, billboards, our destination signs are advertising that we need bus drivers,” he said.

CENTRO even had a booth set up at the New York State Fair hoping to attract potential drivers there. Koegel says, while this is not ideal, it's the only way to ensure their busses are on time where they’re supposed to be.

“The Saturday schedule is not what we want to run,” said Koegel. “It's not what our customers want us to run, but we understand at this point that it's what we can guarantee that we can operate and make sure that when they look at a schedule and see that the bus is supposed to be at a certain location at a certain time that the bus will actually be there.”

While this temporary service change will surely inconvenience many passengers, Koegel did ensure that CENTRO will see that all Syracuse City School District students will still get to school.

For more information or any questions regarding this service change, please contact CENTRO at 315-442-3400.