Kingston Transit recovering from pandemic impacts

The impacts of the pandemic continue to be felt for public transit users in Kingston as service interruptions are still occurring. For a few hours this past Saturday, one of the routes was reduced from a 30 minute frequency to hourly.

“Any interruptions that we’ve had have been quite limited, very localized. At this moment we are meeting all our committed service levels," Director of Transit Services Jeremy DaCosta says.

DaCosta says one of the biggest variables in service interruptions is COVID-19.

“The impacts of COVID are still real…staff on a daily basis may screen out of the workplace because they may have COVID or symptoms related…This is something that’s very hard to predict, it can change in a moment if a bus operator finds themselves in that situation.”

Another key factor relates to layoffs and reduced service during the pandemic.

“We laid off all our part time bus operators…during that period of more than a year, we didn’t hire any bus operators…We did have bus operators who retired or transferred to other departments. Coming out of COVID,  as ridership is returning…we have a deficit of bus drivers…we are recovering from that, we’re trying to hire staff,” says DaCosta.

DaCosta says Kingston Transit has a path forward. 

“Every day we continue to hire staff…we have at least seven more in active training, and more that are planning to start training soon. The situation is definitely improving.”

DaCosta says any cancellations are a last resort.

“We are still subject to further service reductions…we do everything we can before we cancel a route, that sometimes means assigning other staff who wouldn’t normally drive a bus…the only time we reduce service is when we’ve exhausted all other options.”

Listen to the full CFRC interview with Jeremy DaCosta below: