Adjustments coming to Hamilton’s transit schedule to compensate for staff absenteeism

Hamilton's bus service will adjusting schedules on Monday Jan. 23 in order to keep the service consistent. The city agency is compensating in case of any increased absenteeism amid the current wave of the pandemic. Global News

Service levels will be adjusted for Hamilton’s transit system effective Monday to “ensure consistent service,” according to the city.

The changes were made public two weeks ago after emergency operations director Jason Thorne said schedules would be altered to compensate for extra absences due to time off for illness or COVID-19 isolation protocols.

Read more: City expects change to Hamilton’s transit schedules due to staff absenteeism

On Tuesday, Thorne said the service was “doing okay” at about 10 to 15 per cent above normal absenteeism levels for a typical January.

“So this time of year, we’re normally about 40 to 50 people being off on some sort of absenteeism. We’re a little bit higher than that,” Thorne said.

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Close to 20 routes will be affected and operate at a reduced, summer equivalent schedule Monday through until April.

The impact on the schedule is primarily reductions in peak level service which could mean buses arriving every 20 minutes instead of 15, according to Thorne.

Read more: HSR improvements along Upper James corridor central to transit division’s annual budget request

The lengthy schedule reduction, which spans four months, is to put HSR in a situation where they can avoid adjustments on a week by week or every couple of weeks basis.

He went on to say if staffing levels return to normal in that period, some supplementary service maybe put back on the road.

“So it becomes not necessarily an additional scheduled route, but it will provides some additional service again on some of those peak routes,” said Thorne.

The HSR has an estimated 750 people in its workforce and has been able to maintain regular schedules amid the Omicron wave due to low ridership.

Customers can download the HSRnow app on their devices for up-to-date information amid the potential disruptions.

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