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Passengers are packing LTD buses, highlighting the need for more drivers

Bus leaving terminal.
Brian Bull
An LTD bus leaves the downtown Eugene terminal.

Nearly a million more riders stepped aboard buses operated by Lane Transit District this past fiscal year. 

Overall, LTD says it had 5,956,158 passengers in 2023, versus 4,975,763 the year before.

LTD spokesman Pat Walsh said this increase is likely due to people going back to work or the classroom following the pandemic. 

“We believe that passenger boardings will continue to steadily rise over the next few years," Walsh told KLCC. "We need more bus operators to provide more service. We recently graduated a class of ten bus operators, but you know as soon as we hire bus operators we have people in the workforce that retire or change jobs so we’re working hard to recruit and retain the bus operators that we have.” 

Walsh said LTD currently has 170 bus drivers. The district need two dozen more to get up to full speed, to serve LTD's 30 neighborhood and two EmX routes.

People interested in being a driver can visit LTD.org to learn more about the job. A new class of drivers are set to begin LTD's nine-week training program at the end of October.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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