SamTrans to suspend ECR Rapid line, citing operator shortage

in Community/Featured/Headline

Due to a shortage of operators, SamTrans is set to suspend its ECR Rapid bus line from Daly City to Redwood City effective Jan. 19.

“SamTrans, like other transit agencies in the region, is working to recruit and train new operators. Route ECR continues to provide service along the El Camino Real corridor,” the agency said.

The ECR Rapid line launched in summer 2018 in order to speed up travel time along the El Camino Real route, the agency’s highest performing route with approximately 9,000 riders per weekday, the transit agency stated at the time.  No timetable was given for the Rapid line’s return.

Transit agencies nationwide are dealing with operator shortages that have forced service reductions, including SF Muni. Operator pay isn’t as competitive as it once was, City Lab states in its analysis of the shortage, adding that agencies are struggling to replace a steady exodus of retiring drivers.

Suspension of the ECR Rapid line was among a number of service modifications announced by SamTrans. The transit agency reviews its service three times per year, aiming to respond to traffic impacts, customer travel patterns and other variables like the summer break for schools. Its next schedule change is expected in June.