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Bus driver shortage possible Monday

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Staff report

Officials with the Denton County Transportation Authority issued a series of rider alerts Saturday, informing passengers that bus service could be hindered Monday because of a possible driver shortage.

Bus systems that could be affected include Connect, Access, the North Central Texas College shuttle and the University of North Texas shuttle.

The A-train service should not be affected, DCTA officials said.

Bus drivers for DCTA’s demand-response and fixed-route services are contract employees hired through a management contract with First Transit and are part of the Amalgamated Transit Union. First Transit and ATU have been negotiating since last April on a new agreement.

DCTA officials said Saturday that the two sides had recently reached an agreement, but First Transit notified DCTA on Friday about concerns of a labor shortage on Monday.

DCTA has not been involved in the negotiations between First Transit and its employees.

“DCTA, First Transit and the bus drivers share the concern for our passengers,” said Jarod Varner, DCTA vice president of Transit Operations, in a prepared statement. “While DCTA has no formal role in the agreement, our hope is that any concern over the new agreement can be resolved without impacting service delivery.”

DCTA officials said it was not certain whether there would be a shortage Monday.

“We wanted to be proactive in communicating potential impacts to our customers,” Varner said in his statement. “We are confident that all services will be running, but passengers could experience delays.”

DCTA will issue rider alerts throughout the day to inform passengers of any service impacts.

First Transit has provided operational management services to DCTA since 2007, and their employees are not DCTA employees.