GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Buses are running again in Greensboro after service was delayed Tuesday morning.
According to a City of Greensboro news release, the Greensboro Transit Agency bus service was not scheduled run on Tuesday due to a “lack of operators.” The City of Greensboro called this a “walkout.”
The City of Greensboro says that all routes were operational again at 11:30 a.m.
Around 7 a.m., RATP Dev USA, a city contractor that operates GTA buses and paratransit vehicles, reported to the city it was unable to operate as normal due to a lack of drivers.
This caused a disruption in the fixed-route bus service on 12 of GTA’s 19 routes until mid-morning.
Paratransit service was provided as normal to users with scheduled rides. No further disruptions are anticipated.
Riders who paid for fare but didn’t receive service may contact GTA Customer Service at (336) 335-6499 to receive a bus pass or have a credit added to an UMO card.
The Greensboro director of transportation said there was no prior indication of a strike or a walkout and they were told first thing this morning. GTA drivers are contracted and not city employees.
According to RATP Dev USA representatives, many drivers were delayed in operating their schedules after a misunderstanding over medical benefit costs on the first day of open enrollment benefits coverage effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Because of the misunderstanding, RATP Dev USA management reportedly took additional time to provide employees clarity on the benefit enhancements.
“A walkout is unacceptable. People depend on the bus system to get to work and some students depend on the bus system to get to school,” Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said.
Many riders were frustrated with the delay on Tuesday.
Some people were out as early as 6:30 a.m. until the bus routes started back up again around 11:30 a.m.
“I’m a little relieved that I’m on the road getting ready to go to work,” Darnell Bryant said.
He waited with dozens of others for nearly five hours at The depot bus station in Downtown Greensboro to get a ride.
“None of the buses were moving. It was like a stick up out here,” Bryant said.
He saw the drivers gathered together outside refusing to get behind the wheel and later learned the drivers planned a walkout, which is something Bryant says hits his wallet.
I’m missing out on money…I’m supposed to be at work at 6:30″ he said. “Every penny counts.”
The inconvenience had him about six hours late for work.
“It’s not our job. Not our mistake. Who’s going to pay for the penalty,” he said. “Are you going to explain to my boss why I couldn’t get in there after I told him I was going to come? Are you going to tell me this isn’t going to happen again? How can I believe I can trust the bus system if they up and go on strike? Nobody put a notice out.”
Bryant now worries and second guesses riding the public
Some riders say they plan to take the issue to a city council meeting.
We called and emailed the drivers union several times Tuesday and have not heard back. We want to stress, the bus drivers are not employees of the City of Greensboro.