Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788 | St. Louis Public Radio

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788

From left, Catina Wilson and Kae Petrin joined Thursday's segment on transit-related challenges in the St. Louis region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Thousands of people in the St. Louis region depend on Metro Transit’s 83 total MetroBus routes and 46 miles of MetroLink tracks to get where they need to go every day. But on Monday, many of those transit users were left waiting at their usual stops for many minutes, some even for hours, as expected public transportation vehicles did not arrive.

The transit agency cited a driver shortage early Monday as the cause of the delays, putting out a statement that read, in part, “Due to an unusually high number of MetroBus operators already calling off work and declining to work extra assignments, we anticipate that we will not be in position to deliver the normally high quality service the region has come to expect every day.”

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske heard from riders who ran into snags on Monday – and also talked with Catina Wilson, vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788, and St. Louis Public Radio digital reporter Kae Petrin.

The 70 Grand bus stops near St. Louis University in December 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Riders who use Metro Transit experienced delays Monday morning. 

In a statement, Metro said "an unusually high number of MetroBus operators" were not on the job Monday and others did not accept additional duties. The organization said it has all available qualified employees driving buses, but that still isn't enough to cover the absences, resulting in delays.

Members of the ATU Latino Caucus joined local 788 and members of other local unions in a protest outside Metro headquarters on Friday, September 26, 2014.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Members of St. Louis’ local transit union demonstrated outside Metro headquarters Friday morning, in a protest dubbed a “Rally for Respect.”

Local workers were joined by members of other branches of the Amalgamated Transit Union, as well as members of other local unions to form a crowd of about one a hundred.

The group circled the Metro building for about an hour, chanting phrases such as “workers, riders, side-by-side,” and carrying signs that read “They called us an Oreo.”