DTA Needs 15 New Drivers to Resume All Routes

DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth Transit Authority wants to hire 15 more bus drivers so they can operate all their routes.

“We’ve struggled with this for the last several years,” says General Manager Rob Fournier.  “Keeping in mind that we really want to just provide the best, most reliable service that we can.”

A shortage due to retirements and other reasons is forcing them to pause Route 5 and the Port Town Trolley starting Sunday as their balance how to maintain their other routes with their current number of drivers.

Fournier says these two routes were chosen so they could continue other routes that provide somewhat similar services.  “Route 5 we chose because that was the route that folks have the most other options to catch other buses.  It’s very close to several other routes.  While we realize it is impactful to folks, that one gives everybody the most options.

“The trolley, even though that it’s got very good ridership, it is more of a tourist thing.  So we felt that this was one that could be dropped as well.”

While DTA is trying to recruit more drivers, Fournier says they have to compete with trucking companies and other businesses also looking for people with commercial licenses.  “We have very good wages.  We have even better benefits, and that’s a really good tool that we could use for recruitment.  I think what people find at the DTA is that it’s not really a job.  It truly is a job that’s a career.  And that’s how we market it.”

The shortage of drivers is also forcing the DTA to push back the start of their Better Bus Blueprint, which will consolidate current routes but run then more often.

Those interested in applying to be a driver can go to the Duluth Transit website.

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