By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA has been warning bus riders daily about delays due to operator shortages. SEPTA officials say they are short 80 bus drivers. They are trying to fill those spots as quickly as possible.

“It’s very frustrating,” a woman said.

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It was a quiet morning at SEPTA’s 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby on Tuesday. Just before 5 a.m. SEPTA announced nearly a dozen routes will be delayed Tuesday due to bus driver shortages, including Route 113 — that could explain the lack of buses at the terminal.

“It’s been delays, cancellations all kinds of stuff,” ride Kevin Henderson said.

One rider mentions she feels SEPTA is losing money to other companies because they aren’t reliable.

“I feel like they are losing money to companies like Uber or Lyft because they are more reliable,” rider Sabrina Selvy-Moore said.

But Selvy-Moore is unable to afford ride-sharing or taxi service and became emotional.

“It makes me late to work which means my paycheck would be a little shorter,” Selvy-Moore said.

Many of these riders purchase a weekly or monthly pass, costing them up to $96 a month.

“If you are going to be late, why should I have to pay this extra fare for a monthly pass,” Henderson said.

The SEPTA driver shortage is sending shockwaves throughout Philadelphia.

“They never come in time,” Sylvia Lang said. “They are always late on the weekends.”

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“You don’t really see them, like much at all,” a man said.

SEPTA announced Monday on social media that more than two dozen city and suburban routes would operate with delays due to an operator shortage.

 

Meanwhile, operators who say they are doing their best are also feeling the heat. Most say they’re mandated to work six days a week for up to 12 hours a day while the company tries to fill close to 80 operators or buses and trolleys.

Some riders say that shortage is affecting their everyday routine and jobs, saying the bus schedule is inconsistent.

“It’s just ridiculous,” Katina Fuller said. “I am a working person and I need to get to work on time.”

While finding and training new operators has been a challenge over the past year, SEPTA is also trying to recover from a hiring freeze implemented when ridership was extremely low during the worst of COVID.

“I hope they get more drivers,” Fuller said. “We need it.”

SEPTA is looking to hire up to 28 new operators every three weeks through the end of the year. Operators’ base salary starts at around $38,000 and after three years could exceed $76,000. This position comes with benefits and a pension.

But, until the positions are filled, riders will have to continue to wait.

SEPTA said if you are looking for a job, they urge you to reach out and apply. There is no word on how long these delays will be.

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CBS3’s Kerri Corrado and Wakisha Bailey contributed to this report.