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'It's taking a toll on all of us' | Bus driver shortage continues across the state

Some bus drivers say they're having to work almost 70 hours some weeks to make up for the shortage.

BANGOR, Maine — The Community Connector transit system in Bangor is short on bus drivers right now. This has been a problem since last October. Besides fewer buses on the roads, the shortage has also forced drivers to work more hours.

"Honestly, I've been pulling four doubles a week, frequently," Community Connector bus driver Tiffany Lister said. “It’s taking a toll on all [drivers], physically and mentally.”

Lister added she sometimes has to work almost 70 hours some weeks. Even with the challenges of being short-staffed, it’s a job she doesn't take for granted.

“Especially over the past year, we’ve all pulled really close together and become very much a family,” Lister said. 

It's a family she hopes will grow. Normally, the Community Connector would have about 37 bus drivers. Right now, it has only 28.

“You have to have a class B license with a P endorsement and with no air brake restriction," Community Connector Bus Superintendent Laurie Linscott said. "People in this area I'm finding don’t have the license.”

Until more qualified drivers are found, Linscott said some riders should still expect limited service

"We have no date in the works to go back to full service," Linscott told NEWS CENTER Maine.

As other transit systems around the country struggle with a shortage of bus drivers as well, the Greater Portland METRO has been able to avoid it. 

"We're staffed where we need to be," METRO Marketing Manager Denise Beck said. 

However, this wasn’t the case a few years ago when they had a driver shortage of their own. 

“It was difficult because drivers have to come in often on their day off. They work a lot of overtime," Beck explained.

If you're interested in joining the Community Connector crew in Bangor, click HERE

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