Effects Of Metro Bus Drivers Shortage

Paola Estrada, Staff Writer

For months now, LA Metro Buses and Rail have faced many challenges effecting riders daily due to many reasons such as the pandemic, retirement, incompetent employees, and more. 


As early as September, there have been numerous delays and cancelations of the Metro buses throughout all of LA. Throughout the county, about 18% of buses have been decreased because of many personal reasons, but majorly because of the pandemic. People contracting the COVID-19 virus, caused suspension of hiring new drivers during the lockdown, and the requirement for vaccination are all causes to the obstacles both drivers and riders face. 


Riders have experienced many negative effects that they had not encountered as frequently as before the lockdown. Buses being delayed and canceled, making people late to their commitments and getting home. Jessica, a sophomore at UNI, shares her experience with us by saying, “Bus delays have left me waiting after school when it’s dark outside. It’s made me get home late.” 


This also causes the buses to be packed, making people uneasy with other strangers and tense because of the quick and easy spread of the coronavirus. “Before the pandemic, Metro buses weren’t as packed, and I think it’s more unsanitary since there are fewer workers,” said by UNI sophomore Nylah. Furthermore, buses being packed cause them to not even stop at all for people who have probably been waiting for a while already. 


I have firsthand experienced these obstacles on a daily basis getting to school and home. For example, I waited at a bus stop for about an hour just to get to school, making me late. The buses do not come frequently like they used to and way more people find themselves getting cramped in. 


Very recently, the Metro has discontinued free fare and have now started charging people based on their age and status, i.e. students. Making the assumption that fewer people would ride the bus is a false thought. 


According to the Los Angeles Times, “In a bid to stabilize the system, Metro will cut bus service 10% across most lines and reduce rail frequency beginning Feb. 20 in what officials described as an “emergency” measure intended to spread the pain across a system used by about 740,000 people daily.” 


This is the Metro’s plan to balance the system by increasing wait times in order to decrease cancelations. CBS Los Angeles states, “Metro aims to begin service restoration in June 2022 at the earliest.” 


Drivers and riders have been impacted by the limitations of the Metro Buses and will continue to endure them all until at least the beginning of the summer. Riders depend on these buses daily and will have to continue adjusting their lives in order to remain consistent with their commitments.