On a rainy October evening, a group of Oregon State University students waited at the bus stop for over an hour to catch the bus that would eventually take them home. With staffing shortages hitting the Corvallis Transit System, scenes like this could become more common, making it more difficult for many to get to and from school or work.
“Driver shortages are not limited to transit,” says Tim Bates, Corvallis’ Transit Coordinator. Around the country, shortages are affecting truck drivers and shuttle drivers as well.
This issue is also not confined to the city limits of Corvallis. Nationwide, staffing shortages have impacted a range of sectors. Hospitals, schools, and fast food restaurants are just some areas seeing an increased need for workers.
When asked why this might be occurring, Bates said, “I don’t know why it’s happening here any more than I know about why it’s happening in other industries.”
However, Bates did list some potential reasons as to why drivers are lacking. Some drivers were older, leaving once they hit retirement age, while other drivers may have left due to concerns about potentially getting sick on the job.
Still others, Bates suspects, have left to join companies that present tempting offers in order to attract drivers. As Bates put it, other companies in need of drivers are “courting” their staff, offering them benefits and rates that are hard to pass up.
Some Corvallis Transit system routes have been altered as a result of the driver shortage. As of November 1, Routes 1, 5, and 6 have reduced service. The Night Owl, Corvallis’ late night transportation service, has altered its run times, with service now ending at 11:45 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
For the most up-to-date information on routes, visit the Corvallis Transit System’s website.