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'Perfect storm' caused fixed bus routes to be suspended in Helena

Posted at 1:17 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 15:43:40-05

HELENA — A reduction in available staff has forced the suspension of the two fixed bus routes that run throughout Helena on Nov. 8.

The sudden announcement came shortly after the city announced that the route between Helena and East Helena would be suspended due to staff shortages.

Jake Garcin, Public Information Officer for the city of Helena, says that the suspension of bus routes was the result of staffing shortages coupled with some bad luck timing. Initially, the city anticipated that fixed routes would be suspended through Nov. 12, but the routes have not yet resumed.

“They were down a couple of bus drivers to begin with. We've been trying to fill a couple of those positions for a while now. And then we had some illness, some medical leave for staff, and things that really put a strain on just our ability to continue offering all of our normal services,” says Garcin.

MTN reached out to the city to find out when the routes may return. One viewer told us they had spent almost $300 on Lyft fees to cover transportation for grocery shopping and medical appointments since the routes were suspended.

The city projects that bus routes should resume normal operations no later than Monday, Nov. 29, but future staffing shortages could continue to impact routes.