Driver Shortage Forces COAST to Temporarily Suspend Some Service
🚌 COAST had restored nearly all service that had been cut
🚌 The bus line is hiring drivers
Become a COAST driver
A shortage of bus drivers is forcing COAST to make temporary service cuts that took effect Friday.
The bus line said ridership had increased during the summer as nearly all weekday and Saturday service was instated. However several drivers are out on leave for a "variety of reasons", making them unavailable to drive.
COAST has struggled with maintaining its number of drivers since before the pandemic, COAST Executive Director Rad Nichols told Seacoast Current in 2021.
The problem was accelerated by drivers who retired or moved, and there was no one waiting to fill their ranks. During the pandemic, many bus-driving schools closed down around the country, slowing down the pipeline of new drivers looking for jobs.
Nichols said that in New Hampshire, there is only one bus driving school in Concord that does a good job, but is limited in its capacity.
The company, which has offered public bus transportation to the Seacoast region since 1981, said it offers a paid training program. Due to liability, COAST cannot train drivers itself.
Starting pay for a CDL bus driver is $25.20-$27.00 per hour. After the driver's first year, wages currently increase by an average of 14.6% per year through their third anniversary. There are also numerous opportunities to earn overtime at time-and-a-half.
COAST offers more information for potential drivers at coastbus.org/careers.