On Monday, Jan. 10, TriMet will temporarily reduce service on 20 bus lines to address the most severe bus operator shortage in our agency’s history. All affected lines will have buses coming less often on weekdays, and some may run fewer hours of the day. TriMet first announced the temporary service reductions in early December, which will improve schedule reliability and reduce the number of late or canceled buses our riders are experiencing while we address the worker shortage.
The following lines will have a temporary service reduction:
4, 8, 12, 15, 17, 21, 30, 33, 35, 52, 54, 56, 62, 67, 70, 71, 75, 76, 77, 78
Of these, lines 4, 12, 17, 21, 30, 33, 35, 52, 54, 56, 62, 67, 70, 71, 76, 77 and 78 will also have reduced hours of operation, which means buses may start later or end earlier in the service day. No bus lines will be cut as part of the service reduction.
Riders are encouraged to visit trimet.org and plan a trip for Monday, Jan. 10 or later to see how the adjustments impact arrival, departure and transfer times. New schedules for the affected lines are also posted at trimet.org/reducedservice.
LIFT, MAX and WES service
Also starting Jan. 10, LIFT paratransit riders may experience longer ride times or differences in desired pickup or drop-off times, as the LIFT program provides service the same days and times as our fixed-route buses. LIFT Customer Service is prepared to help riders with these changes at 503-962-8000. MAX and WES schedules are unaffected by these service reductions but remain at lower service levels put in place in April 2020.
Recruiting new bus operators
TriMet’s operator shortage is part of the national worker shortage, and we are actively recruiting, hiring and training bus operators to try to reverse impacts on our service and our riders. We are offering newly hired operators a $2,500 hiring bonus, starting pay of $21.84 per hour and seven weeks of paid training. In addition, TriMet employees have access to a generous package of benefits including vacation, personal and sick time; health, dental, vision, disability and life insurance plans; and pension and retirement benefits, including a monthly employer retirement plan contribution of 8% of employee base pay. With pay increases guaranteed, full-time TriMet bus operators achieve top pay in just three years, earning an annual salary of at least $68,000 without overtime. Learn more and apply today at trimet.org/driveforus.
We hope our incentives and promotion of the many benefits TriMet employees receive will begin filling our new operator training classes that start every three weeks and can accommodate 26 people. For the past year, those classes have fallen short of that threshold, with as few as two or three people in some classes. All new operators must successfully complete the seven-week program, including receiving their Commercial Driver License (CDL), prior to heading out on the road.
Return to April 2020 service levels
With the changes outlined above, TriMet will reduce service by about 9%, returning to levels last we adopted in April 2020 following Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 stay at home orders. We focused the adjustments on maintaining service in communities of color and areas where people of low income live and work, while providing connections to education, jobs, health care and service centers. The plan was evaluated through a comprehensive Title VI analysis, which found no disproportionate impact on communities of concern within the service area.