The HSR will hire up to 58 extra full-time drivers to fix a no-show bus crisis that stranded furious riders all over Hamilton last month.
Nearly 600 HSR buses were cancelled last month because not enough drivers were available to staff them. The HSR blamed “unprecedented” driver absenteeism — up to 19 per cent in October — but the transit union angrily pointed the finger at poor management and scheduling that has “burned out” operators, later calling for HSR brass to be fired.
The city’s initial response to the crisis was to ask the Ministry of Labour for permission to allow HSR operators to be on the road up to 68 hours a week to cover gaps in service. More than 100 drivers have already worked 300-plus hours of overtime this year so far.
But councillors voted Wednesday to allow the HSR to exceed budgeted driver numbers by as many as 58 — a bump from 484 to 542 full-time positions — to try to avoid mass bus shortages in future.