CATS bus rider says a bus not showing up cost her a job

On Thursday morning, CATS tweeted that riders should “expect intermittent delays on CATS bus routes” due to operator absences.
This is the second day several CATS bus drivers were absent.
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 7:00 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Frustrated and fed up. For many people who rely on CATS buses for transportation, that’s where they are right now.

On Thursday morning, CATS tweeted that riders should “expect intermittent delays on CATS bus routes” due to operator absences.

It said there were 97 operator absences. And Wednesday, it was 107.

But it’s not just delays. A WBTV Investigation shows Charlotte City buses have failed to show up thousands of times already this year.

“Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. In fact, I lost a job before,” said bus rider Tina Quizon.

Related: Thousands of “ghost buses” don’t show up for CATS riders

Quizon says she had no way of getting to work on time. The lack of transportation, she says, has become a safety concern.

“In the evening, there’d be no bus, I’d have to walk 45 minutes in the dark home.”

Recently, Quizon says, she wanted to take the bus to save on gas money, and this happened:

“There was no bus that came down for like way over 45 minutes and heat-wise, it just was too much to be out there.”

Right now, CATS told WBTV, they have 497 total operators; 292 are needed to get you to where you need to go during the week.

Since May 1, 2022, CATS has been short 23 employees on average per day.

CATS: Riders should expect delays due to more than 100 bus driver absences

CATS told WBTV these absences happen because of a number of factors, some may be unplanned, and in other cases, it could be planned vacations, childcare issues, or leaves of absence. CATS is also still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Right now, they have 74 bus operator vacancies.

CATS says the contracted organization that manages their bus operations and maintenance, Transit Management of Charlotte, is working to get more bus operators in different ways such as through job fairs like the one Quizon went to this morning.

She wanted to find out the reason for what was going on.

“It seems to be, it’s been going on for several years. But right now, finally, it’s got the attention of the public, the city, and the employers, businesses who are suffering when their workers can’t get to work.”

Quizon said the job fair wrapped up early, and she was told to apply online.

In the short term, CATS encourages people to use the “CATS-Pass app” to see if their bus is delayed.

Buses that aren’t running won’t be shown, but CATS says, they’re working to get that feature in July.

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