COAST is suspending some Seacoast routes due to a lack of qualified bus drivers.

“We have been operating with an ongoing driver shortage for most of the last six years,” stated Rad Nichols, COAST Executive Director.

Over the past few months, that shortage has grown, and the region’s public transit provider is now unable to meet all its published service schedules, according to a press release.

Nichols explained that the public transportation provider is in a pinch now because they have lost a number of employees who moved out of the Seacoast region, have retired, or cannot work due to health-related issues.

In May, COAST raised their starting wages for CDL bus drivers by 9.3 percent to $21.25 per hour.

After a CDL bus driver completes their first year, the wage rate increases by an average of 8.3 percent per year through their fourth anniversary.

COAST’s wage scale is increased annually to account for inflation and the company regularly has overtime opportunities which result in time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in a week, according to the press release.

Since announcing the new wage rates, COAST has been able to recruit three new and part-time bus drivers, but until the company has adequate staffing, they are suspending every other run of Route 40 after 1:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

On Saturdays only, every other run of Routes 1 and 33 after 3:30 p.m. will be suspended.

The suspension of services begins on Saturday.

If you have a commercial driver's license and are looking for a job, visit www.coastbus.org/careers.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com.

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