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Rockford city bus drivers say they're not staffed to keep up with service expansion

Rockford City Bus Stop on Mulford Street
Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Rockford City Bus Stop on Mulford Street

Rockford city bus drivers filed a complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board over changes made to driver schedules.

The complaint alleges that some bus drivers are having to work 16 and even 19 hour shifts. The Rockford Mass Transit District increased the service hours on its routes last month as part of the first phase of a four part expansion plan.

Jodi Williams is President of the ATU local 1333 representing city bus drivers. She said the new schedules, combined with a shortage of drivers, have translated into untenable working conditions.

“It's been bad on the paratransit because they were already getting forced to work hours. And now with the expansion, they're getting forced to work extra hours," said Williams. "A lot of the people on paratransit work anywhere from 10 to 12 hours already. So now to be forced on your day off— it's just not fair.”

In a statement to WNIJ, a spokesperson for the mass transit district said they have no knowledge of the claim.

William Favretto, vice president of ATU Local 1333, said that RMTD pushed through the service expansion project without meaningfully consulting the union, and left bus drivers without many options.

“We don't really have the manpower to cover this,” said Favretto “And, as far as manpower goes, we're running thin, and RMTD has not shown a consistent ability to bring people in and keep them there.”

Another service expansion to the city bus route is scheduled for next month.