ABQ Ride changes bus route due to driver shortage

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The wheels are turning on a new streamlined bus schedule in the metro, all because of what officials say is a shortage of bus drivers both locally and across the country.

People like Sean Flory take the bus to UNM nearly every day.

“If you miss a bus, it’s a lot longer in between the next one,” Flory said.

The route he normally takes to campus is one of 25 routes impacted by the city’s new streamlined bus schedule.

25 out of the 30 routes have been affected by the schedule changes.

That amounts to 80 current bus driver openings, 29 openings for Sun Van drivers and 6 routes completely cut. This is leaving passengers to find a completely different route until the city can get staffing up to speed.

While the Transit Department is still trying to rebound from the pandemic, an ABQ Ride spokesperson says an aging workforce is another factor in the bus driver shortage.

“45% of the workforce for bus drivers are over the age of 55,” spokesperson Megan Holcomb said.

That’s why the city is partnering with CNM to hire younger drivers, while offering more incentives to join, such as:

  • $2500 signing bonus, up from $1000
  • Starting pay increased to $19 an hour

Chris Davis has been a bus driver for 15 years. He says applying for the job is all about “opportunity, opportunity, opportunity” and the job’s priceless perks.

“This is my office, you like my office? Not a bad one – and I got a view that’s unbelievable,” Davis said.

If you’re interested in becoming a bus driver, click this link to apply and find updated routes.