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RTA delays service changes and continues efforts to hire vaccinated employees in preparation for federal mandate
For Immediate Release
MEDIA CONTACT: Jessica Olson (937) 425-8352, Communications Manager
(DAYTON, Ohio)— The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is moving back its proposed service changes and proactively hiring new vaccinated employees in anticipation of a federal mandate that would require the agency to have all of its staff be vaccinated against COVID-19.
With a federal vaccine mandate now scheduled to take effect in early January, the RTA has pushed back its timeline to start running reduced services to January 2, 2022. “As an agency we need to be both prepared for the pending federal mandate as well as likely increased absences due to growing statewide COVID cases,” said RTA CEO Robert Ruzinsky. “Allowing our customers and employees an extra month to plan helps and will ensure no service reductions through the busy holiday season.”
The RTA is currently looking to hire 26 vaccinated CDL bus drivers for its fixed-route services, and 23 vaccinated non-CDL bus drivers for its RTA Connect Paratransit services to help it reach full staffing levels. In addition, the agency is proactively hiring additional supervisory positions in anticipation of the federal mandate. While the federal government has not yet published the final federal vaccine mandate rules, they have published a vaccine compliance date of January 4, 2022.
As of Nov. 18, 83% of the RTA team is either fully vaccinated or in the process. This breaks down by work group as follows:
- Bus Drivers - 85%
- Fleet/Facility Maintenance - 64%
- Administrative Staff - 92%
Since November, the RTA has only hired employees who are fully vaccinated. The agency is running several advertising campaigns to increase recruitment, including a specialized Christmas-themed campaign that can be found on billboards, print and digital media, and through broadcast advertisements. However, in anticipation of having reduced staff available to drive bus routes and maintain its fleet due to vaccination status and growing COVID absences, the RTA is planning to run its current Saturday service schedule six days a week, Monday through Saturday. This would reduce frequencies on some routes and require less bus drivers and mechanics to operate. Those routes that don’t operate on Saturdays would continue on their current schedule. Sunday service would not be impacted. These changes would ensure RTA has enough vaccinated and healthy staff to provide the reduced services.