Amid staff shortages, DTA forced to close routes

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 7:05 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - The Duluth Transit Authority announced Tuesday it would be temporarily closing it’s Route 5 amid recent staffing shortages.

Route 5 services several stops between New Duluth and Miller Hill Mall.

David Clark, Director of Marketing with the DTA said they have a full force of drivers had a lot of drivers calling out sick with COVID-19 and the seasonal flu recently.

“While our team is up to speed in terms of numbers, when people get sick and have other reasons for absences and things, we kind of end up in these situations sometimes,” said Clark.

Clark says they do their best not to cancel routes, but without the necessary bus drivers to service all routes he said they don’t have any other options.

When they do need to cancel, they try to strategically pick routes that will have the least amount of impact on residents.

“That travel area [on Route 5] is also served by other routes in our system. While it is a sacrifice to have to make a transfer, at least folks can still make it to their destination,” said Clark.

Unfortunately, some residents have their daily routines disrupted by those changes.

Faith Duvall, a resident of Duluth’s Morgan Park neighborhood, says she and others in her area are forced to leave at different times now.

“Well I have to take [Route] 7 at the bottom of the hour, at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and come down here and transfer,” said Duvall, “This is a big inconvenience.”

The DTA says they hope to open the route back up in the coming weeks.

If the staffing shortage worsens, they may be forced to close more lines.

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