BC Transit is experiencing labour shortages across Greater Victoria, resulting in delayed or cancelled bus service on some routes. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

BC Transit is experiencing labour shortages across Greater Victoria, resulting in delayed or cancelled bus service on some routes. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Rider frustration mounts as staff shortages plague Vancouver Island transit routes

It’s uncertain how much impact vaccination policy has had on service levels

Transit service cancellations are continuing to escalate in Greater Victoria due to ongoing labour shortages.

BC Transit has been facing this shortage for several months and is actively working to recruit more drivers, said communications manager Tessa Humphries in a statement to Black Press Media.

“While the labour challenge still impacts the amount of service we can schedule, BC Transit implemented a new schedule effective Jan. 3 which helped improve reliability in the system,” she said.

Regular transit user in Greater Victoria, Nathan Davidowicz, said he’s frustrated by how often last-minute bus cancellations happen, often when he’s already been waiting for the bus.

“These cancellations are so frustrating because the next bus is usually 20 or 30 minutes away,” he said. “It’s a huge problem that people can’t rely on the transit system to get them where they’re going.”

To curb further issues around cancellations, BC Transit plans to add service capacity as more operators are hired.

It’s uncertain how BC Transit’s mandatory proof of vaccination policy for all staff has affected its driver numbers. The policy, announced in October, gave employees a Nov. 29 deadline to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. A company spokesperson confirmed just over 98 per cent of their workforce is fully vaccinated.

“BC Transit is not disclosing specific information on numbers of employees placed on leave in order to respect the privacy of those involved,” the statement said.

Should impacts to service be necessary, alerts are posted immediately on BC Transit’s website once trip cancellations are confirmed. Customers are encouraged to use NextRide and the Transit App for trip planning.

To learn more about a career with BC Transit visit bctransit.com/careers/drivewithus.

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