Summit Stage prepares for another season of longer wait times as staffing issues persist |

Summit Stage prepares for another season of longer wait times as staffing issues persist

A Summit Stage bus pulls into a stop on Main Street in Frisco on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021.
Grace Coomaraswamy/For the Summit Daily News

Summit Stage riders may see another season of hourlong wait times as staffing issues persist.

Despite a $2,000 bonus for transit workers, Summit County has not been able to overcome its bus driver staffing issues, Assistant County Manager Bentley Henderson said at a Summit Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, March 8.

On March 30, the Summit County Transit Board will approve the Summit Stage schedules and routes for the summer season. Transit Director Chris Lubbers said it’s likely they won’t look much different from the winter schedules, with minor adjustments to improve efficiencies.

Over the winter season, the Summit Stage switched from a 30-minute schedule to an hourly operation to make up for the staffing shortages. The decision was made because current drivers were reaching the maximum amount of overtime work that is deemed safe, Lubbers said.

“We were able to keep the amazing talent that we have because of (the schedule changes),” he said.

In February, the transit department implemented pay increases for the county’s Summit Stage employees. Each employee earned a one-time $2,000 bonus. New employees are also eligible for a $2,000 bonus for completing training, another $2,000 for staying with the Summit Stage for six months and a $1,000 sign-on bonus after 90 days of employment.

The Summit Stage is continuing to provide employees with a $300 quarterly performance bonus and a $500 two-year bonus, which were bonus structures that were already in place.

Lubbers said the goal of the pay increases was to establish the Summit Stage as a competitive employer. The Summit County government is also in the process of completing a wage study that will help identify which employees may need pay raises to account for cost of living or other factors.

“(Staffing shortages) are causing all of us to think about how we can be more competitive in this incredibly competitive market for talent,” Lubbers said.

The transit department has also focused its efforts on recognizing its employees for hard work. In February, the transit board signed a proclamation which commended Summit Stage employees for their dedication to keeping the bus routes running.

“The Summit Stage Team is hereby publicly recognized for their dedication, determination and perseverance towards maintaining safe and dependable transit service for the residents and visitors of Summit County during difficult and unprecedented times,” the proclamation read.

Even with the added recruitment and retention efforts, Lubbers said the Summit Stage has struggled to find quality applicants to be bus drivers.

“We’re simply not seeing the candidates,” he said.

The Summit Stage won’t be able to return to a 30-minute schedule until it hires more drivers. Anyone over the age of 21 with a Colorado commercial license can apply to be a driver. The Summit Stage also offers a training program for those who don’t have their licenses, according to the county’s website. The starting pay for bus drivers is $20.93 per hour.

Lubbers said anyone who is interested in applying can visit to access the application.

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