City of Kamloops staff blame traffic and increased ridership demand for a downward trend in on-time buses.

BC Transit buses were on-time for just 59% of stops in Kamloops during the 2021-2022 fiscal year, according to a report tabled at city council today, May 30.

Most routes ranged from 55% to 60% on-time through the end of 2022, which staff suggested could be blamed on increased traffic and increased ridership post-COVID.

Ridership increased by nearly 40% compared to the previous year, while the Kamloops transit system's on-time average lagged behind the 63% provincial average, the report said.

The report said system delays add up with "last-minute" calls from drivers that say they're sick, particularly during peak morning travel times.

BC Transit frequently issues notices of "service interruptions" on several Kamloops routes, often impacting major routes from the North Shore to downtown. Almost every time, BC Transit blames it on a driver shortage.

Those notices are often issued early in the day and are sometimes revised as certain stops get filled.

READ MORE: 'Morale is terrible': Turnover at Kamloops transit plagues both management and drivers

A local driver told in August that some drivers will frequently call in sick, while the company BC Transit contracts to operate the network, First Transit, struggles to fill its open positions.

The report says First Transit has been "increasingly successful" at recruiting new drivers and office staff, often training new drivers without previous transit experience.

It's not clear how many positions are still open and the report does not mentioned how many stops were cancelled because of a driver shortage.

Ridership is up in Kamloops, nearing pre-pandemic levels. Across all routes, the Kamloops transit system reached between 90% to 95% of pre-pandemic ridership by the end of 2022, with more than 3.1 million trips in the 2021/2022 fiscal year.

That's an increase of 38% from the 2020/2021 ridership of 2.2 million trips.

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