Driver shortage reduces CAT bus service on some routes

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- People who use Capital Area Transit or CAT to make their daily commute may need to exercise extra patience.

CAT management said dispatch was forced to cut nearly a dozen bus trips due to a lack of drivers.

Management doesn't believe the driver shortage happened by accident. Officials say it comes after a union meeting on Monday, although they aren't holding union leaders responsible for the problem.

As some Capitol Area Transit riders set out to catch a bus to work, school, or wherever they needed to go Wednesday morning, some passengers may have been left out in the cold.

Capital Area Transit interim general manager Tom Reynolds said "I think it's very unfortunate that we have this situation, and as the interim general manager at CAT, I do want to apologize to our customers for any of the inconveniences that they're experiencing."

No bus routes were completely canceled, although CAT dispatch had to cut 11 individual bus trips.

Reynolds believes some drivers who aren't happy about recent policy enforcements and terminations, took it upon themselves to lead a concerted effort to affect bus service.

"The group got together and we've got to find out who those are and said we're going to protest, and our form of protest is going to be taking our names off the overtime list that we rely on to fill service," Reynolds said.

CAT management doesn't blame union leaders for the inconvenience to bus riders. Instead, they cite the actions of a group of drivers for not only causing a 10 to 15 percent drop in service, but for slowing down hundreds of passengers on their morning commute.

"I am concerned about tomorrow morning's service where there is a heavier reliance on the amount of overtime work that we cover those runs with," Reynolds said.

Meanwhile, other drivers on duty will have to pick up the slack by taking on additional routes.

"We are looking at and monitoring our manpower, and are very grateful to those operators that are coming in, and not taking a stand in this particular protest," Reynolds said.

CAT management said they're collecting data on what happens with bus service on Wednesday and Thursday, as officials work with their legal team on filing an "unfair labor charge" with the state.

FOX 43 News reached out to the president of ATU local 1436 for comment, but haven't heard back as of yet.

Passengers should double-check with CAT's latest postings (here) to find out if their scheduled trip is canceled.