CARTA bus drivers hold rally

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Some CARTA bus drivers say they’re overworked, so they held a rally to make people aware of the issue.

On a rainy Tuesday afternoon outside of the city council building, CARTA bus drivers held signs in protest. They say there are not enough drivers.

“The public needs to be aware that we don’t have enough drivers to complete all the routes that we have. November 6th, we had four routes that were unable to be filled by drivers so therefore the people weren’t able to get to and from work,” said Bill Nye, a CARTA employee and the vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1212.

Longtime CARTA employees say their concerns are not being heard by management.

“We’re circumvented by them every step we take to try to get things corrected but they don’t seem to want to be listening to us,” Nye said.

Employees say because there are not enough drivers, they are being forced to work overtime.

“It would be different if it was an option. When it becomes forced, even the new trainees that they have, they’re training new bus drivers to try to replace, they’re getting burned out,” Nye said.

In a statement CARTA officials say they always put safety first and having to ask drivers to work on their days off is not something they want to do. But they say they need to provide service to customers who rely on CARTA.

Some bus driver disagree.

“You have to constantly just drive and drive and drive, that’s not right to a person as a human being,” said Kathryn Smith, a bus driver and president of ATU Local 1212.

She says overall she enjoys her job.

“If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have been here 30 years,” Smith said.

But she wants to see change.

“We want things done peacefully, decently and in order,” Smith said.

Another concern bus drivers had was there wasn’t enough time for bathroom breaks. CARTA officials say while they don’t have a central transportation center, there are more than forty facilities where drivers can go to.

Categories: Local News

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