McDonough County Transportation making changes amidst lingering driver shortage

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 4:52 PM CDT
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MACOMB (WGEM) - Like many other businesses facing staff shortages, McDonough County Public Transportation is making some changes due to a low number of drivers.

“It’s always been a push to get drivers in the door, but it’s definitely gotten significantly more necessary in the last year now,” eight-year Go West driver Lucas Young said.

With the driver shortage, Young said workers are picking up routine overtime with many drivers working six days per week.

“We’ve always, to a certain extent, had to be willing to pick up a little bit of extra overtime every now and then, but more in the case of if a driver calls off or we have a special event coming up, whereas now it’s on a regular basis,” Young said.

To attract more applicants, MCPT is beginning a micro-transit operation that would allow people without a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to drive medium-sized buses.

MCPT Transit Director Miranda Lambert said they’re looking to add six drivers.

“We’re looking at things differently, again, how can we address the driver shortage and be able to open up the application pool with what our Go West routes need,” Lambert said.

Lambert said between 12 and 15 buses is the ideal number to have on the road when Western Illinois University is in session. Now, between 8 and 10 buses will be available.

“It’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle of saying how can we best serve our students as well as well as our residents and get people where they need to be,” Lambert said.

One route that is being taken offline starting Aug. 15 is route 18, which currently runs from South Deer Road, circles through West Jackson Street and has stops on East Washington, East Jefferson and West Piper Streets.

Lambert said to utilize the Go West App for the most up-to-date routes.

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