Falls Ride facing ongoing bus driver shortage

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Across the nation, many industries are dealing with the nationwide workers shortage, and it’s again impacting us here at home.

“I will tell you, it is heartbreaking, it is hard,” said Jenny Stevens, Public Transportation Administrator for the city of Wichita Falls. “I force my staff to find every way possible before we have to cancel a route, and sometimes there’s just no other option.”

Stevens said those are the feelings she and her staff share whenever they have to make the decision to cancel a Falls Ride bus route, a decision she said they’ve been forced to make time and time again.

“In 2020 we saw a decline in our driver pool, and there are employees in there, but they have taken jobs at other businesses, but they want to stay on part time here,” Stevens said. “When it comes time that we may need them, they aren’t available because they’re working full time at another position.”

Aside from staffing issues, Stevens said they are also facing challenges with the supply chain as well.

“We have about four units that are down right now that we can’t get parts for, which is causing a big issue,” Stevens said. “So we’re trying to make sure that we keep things going and running, so we don’t have to shut down another route.”

Stevens said moving forward they’ll continue to search for applicants because it’s their number one responsibility to provide public transportation to this community.

“We really want the public to know that we are here to provide a service, and we really do want to do that, but due to the circumstances that we were in, that was just the situation that occurred,” Stevens said.

The city is aiming to get more drivers through their doors and on buses to get everyone where they need to be.

If you’re interested in applying to be a driver you can find more information here. The city is looking to hire both part-time and full-time drivers.

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