Columbia’s city council is set to vote Monday night on a bill aimed at hiring drivers specifically for paratransit service.
It’s also aimed at addressing Columbia’s bus driver shortage. While the city continues to see a growing need for paratransit service, the city is down 11 full-time and seven part-time drivers. That’s 40 percent of their operator staff.
Paratransit service is a federally mandated point of origin to destination service for qualified individuals. The city receives 200 ride requests per day to employment, medical and shopping destinations.
Public Works says this demand requires drivers who could be driving fixed routes to drive paratransit service.
The proposal that will be voted on tonight would fill six full-time GoCOMO Transit bus driver positions with the full-time paratransit van driver position. These positions would not replace any current paratransit drivers.
Columbia public works crews says its transit drivers have been working 12 hours of mandatory overtime per week since August, with no anticipated relief in sight.