Bus driver shortage and disrupted service expected due to new vaccine mandate: City of Hamilton

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Published October 29, 2021 at 3:30 pm

The City of Hamilton is anticipating potential HSR service disruptions due to a shortage of bus drivers next week.

The City of Hamilton is anticipating potential Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) service disruptions due to a shortage of bus drivers next week.

The city’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy goes into effect on Nov. 4, 2021, requiring all employees to show proof of their second dose. Otherwise, staff must participate in the Rapid Testing Program in order to remain employed.

“The Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Verification Policy is meant to promote the benefits of getting vaccinated and ensure a healthy and safe work environment for all City staff as well as those residents visiting our facilities or interacting with City staff,” issued Lora Fontana, Executive Director, Human Resources in an official media release.

“As we look to implement the City’s COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program, those employees who have chosen not to become vaccinated or not disclose their vaccination status to the City will need to submit their rapid test results starting on November 4. Our policy has provided City employees with a choice, while allowing the City to continue safely delivering services to the residents of Hamilton.”

HSR expects up to 10 per cent of bus operators to be “out of compliance with the policy.”

“The health and safety of our staff, customers and community remain our top priority,” added Maureen Cosyn Heath, Director of Transit, Hamilton Street Railway.

“For this reason, HSR continues to encourage employees to comply with the policy by getting vaccinated or getting tested regularly to ensure a healthy and safe environment. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause our customers and commit to sharing up-to-date information with them as soon as it becomes available.”

The city says it’s preparing contingency plans by:

  • Prioritizing service at the start and end of the day to ensure customers can get where they need to go
  • Identifying high-frequency routes that may be modified where required
  • Continuously monitoring affected routes to protect service

Customers are encouraged to download the HSRnow app on their devices for up-to-date information and to monitor HSR’s social media channels for updates.

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