COAST Driver Shortage Forces Service Cuts
Seven COAST bus lines will be suspended indefinitely starting Saturday as the carrier continues to struggle with hiring new drivers.
COAST already made cuts in June because of ongoing staffing issues that go back six years, according to executive director Rad Nichols. Another round of deeper cuts was necessary because many of its summer staff are returning to school or school-based employment.
The lines that will be suspended are:
- Route 12
- Route 13
- Route 14
- Route 33
- Route 40
- Route 43
“The sole reason COAST is suspending these services is due to the shortage of CDL
drivers to operate our scheduled routes. Unfortunately, these additional suspensions represent a more sizeable reduction in the services we offer. Our goal is to get back to full operations as soon as possible," Nichols said.
Nichols said that COAST offers "good career-oriented jobs that positively impact the communities we operate in. When you leave work for the day here at COAST, you know you made a real difference in people’s lives."
In an effort to attract potential hires, COAST has raised its starting wage twice this year which is now at $21.25 an hour. There are also regular overtime opportunities which pays time-and-a-half.
Nichols compared COAST buses to "rolling neighborhoods" that represent each of the 13 neighborhoods where COAST operates.
"Friendships are formed, life stories and struggles are shared, and successes are
celebrated. COAST bus drivers get to experience all that first-hand," Nichols said.
More information about training to become a COAST driver can be found at coastbus.org.