the Chautauqua County Legislature will vote on Wednesday on a proposal to increase the salaries of TROLLEYS bus drivers. Director of departmental public facilities Brad Bentley said CARTS is struggling to attract new bus drivers and thinks the starting salary of $ 14.44 an hour is part of the problem: “And we need a CDL with the approval of a passenger to be a bus driver, so we have quite high requirements and we only pay for that. Our proposal is therefore to start bus drivers in grade 4, step 3, or $ 16.66 per hour. This is for all bus drivers, whether they are replacement or full-time part-time.
Bentley said replacement drivers would stay at that $ 16.66 hourly rate, while full-time part-time employees would have the option of seeing pay increases. He said the financial impact will be $ 100,000 on the operating budget, but the CARES Act funding this year will help possible New York State repayments in the future.
Bentley said the alternative is to cut services, which has already happened in Dunkirk, “CARTS is not something I would recommend cutting services on. We take people to their doctor’s appointments, to their dialysis appointments, we take them to work. It is the only public transport system there. We do it at a very low cost.
If passed, the salary increase would take effect at the start of the third quarter.
CARTS will resume service on Saturday from July 3 in the Jamestown, Falconer, Celoron, Lakewood and Dunkirk areas.
The Lakewood route via Fairmount will run every 45 minutes, the first route will leave the Jamestown junction at 8 a.m. and the last route will leave the junction at 5 p.m. every Saturday.
The Willard / Foote Route will also run every 45 minutes, with the first departure leaving Jamestown Junction at 8 a.m. and the last leaving the Junction at 5 p.m. every Saturday.
Falconer Road and North Main / Baker Road will face each other.
Director of Public Facilities Brad Bentley said: “The pre-COVID, CARTS Saturday service has been well received and utilized. It is important that we restart the fixed route service on Saturdays as businesses and events return to their normal level. In addition, CARTS is currently working on other improvements that are expected to be announced later this year. “