More than 100 BREEZE bus routes have been canceled in the past week because of staffing issues, according to the North County Transit District.
On NCTD’s Twitter page, @GoNCTD, they post updates on ride statuses for their various systems, including BREEZE bus routes and COASTER and SPRINTER train service. Their posts include when transit is running behind, resuming normal service or being canceled.
Since Jan. 4, the NCTD has posted dozens of updates saying that roughly 130 trips have been canceled due to “staffing issues” or “lack of staffing.” These cancellations are impacting routes and stops from Oceanside to La Jolla, with nearly 50 trips canceled on Monday.
A spokesperson for NCTD sent an emailed statement in response to the cancellations:
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“Like many employers and transit agencies throughout the country, NCTD and its contractor, MV Transportation, continues to feel the effects of a worker shortage. Exasperating the issue is a recent increase in the number of positive COVID cases. NCTD continues to make diligent efforts to move drivers to routes that have less frequency to lessen the impact on riders.”
NBC 7 spoke with passengers while they were waiting for buses at UTC Transit Center. One man, Robert Johnson, was alongside a group of people who he referred to as his students. He explained that he works with those who are developmentally disabled and they rely on these buses to get to their main location in Miramar.
“We ride it every day, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m." Johnson said. “We ride probably four hours, five hours of that six hours.”
He added that it would be a challenge for the group to find another way to get around if they found out their bus was canceled last minute.
“We would have to call parents to come pick up the students so we can get them back at the proper place and the proper time,” Johnson said, explaining that some of the parents would also be at work during the day and unable to come.
NCTD said they do try to limit the impact on riders, by focusing their resources on the routes that are used most often. According to NCTD’s website, BREEZE offers 30 routes and more than 1,600 stops.