Dear Santa Cruz METRO Customers:
Over the past several months we have experienced numerous days in which we were unable to provide all the service we promised. If you receive our service alerts, you have likely noticed that the extreme delays and loss of service resulted from a combination of bus operator shortages, police actions, and weather. If you are not currently subscribed to receive service alerts, you can do so at scmtd.com/subscribe.
First and foremost, please accept my apology for the delays and loss of service. At every level in this organization, we are committed to deliver 100% of the service we promise. Unfortunately, we have had several days in which police activity, traffic accidents and weather related problems, such as landslides, road washouts, downed trees and power lines, have all challenged our ability to provide the quality service you expect from METRO. Additionally, road and highway closures push traffic onto other streets, creating congestion that impacts our service delivery.
Another factor to consider is that METRO, like nearly all bus agencies in the nation, utilize a route concept called interlining. Very simplistically said, interlining means that a bus operator may drive on two or more routes over the course of their workday. If an operator is scheduled to interline from their current route to another route, and they are running late, METRO will provide a notice to our customers that we will be unable to provide that trip due to staffing shortages. When this happens, the next bus servicing your stop may be anywhere from 15 minutes to 60 minutes late. There are also legal limits as to how long a bus operator can be behind the wheel. Therefore, a bus operator caught in traffic may have to be taken out of service before finishing all the assigned work, which also results in a staffing shortage.
Finally, we are budgeted for 146 positions and we currently have eight vacancies. We are actively working to resolve this shortage and hope to have new bus operators aboard and trained by June. There are some other daily challenges that may result in staff shortages, such as illnesses. We are working to adjust the way we do business so that we can better absorb some of these day-to-day challenges.
Again, please accept my apology for the delays in getting you to and from work and other destinations. We are working hard to make improvements to resolve these short-term challenges.
Alex Clifford, CEO
110 Vernon Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
METRO online at http://www.scmtd.com