A bus makes its way down Portland's Congress Street on Nov. 8, 2021. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Greater Portland Metro riders may need to seek an alternate route starting Monday due to schedule changes amid staffing shortages.

The Metro is reducing service for riders taking Metro Route one and Breez for the next six weeks.

Route one headways will be reduced from 30 minutes to every 60 minutes from Monday to Saturday. Seven daily Breez trips will be suspended Monday to Friday and therefore fares will be reduced from $4 at full fare to $2 at full fare.

Breez will run with local service along Route one between Washington Avenue and Thompson’s Point. This will allow riders to use the Breez to access Thompson’s Point.

In an attempt to solve the staffing shortages, a job application is posted on the Greater Portland Metro website. Spokesperson Denise Beck said the job pays $60,000 a year with benefits.

She adds this shortage wasn’t totally unexpected and they have been planning for schedule changes since January.

“We are not alone in these challenging times of hiring enough staff to keep our schedule fully operating,” Beck said. “Like I said, transit agencies throughout the country and other businesses, from restaurants to offices to everywhere; they’re facing staff shortages.”

Beck said 45 bus drivers are needed to run the routes, but extra are needed in case workers are out sick or are on vacation. She explained they are seeing instances where workers are getting asked to work on their days off and these scheduling changes are part of an attempt to limit that.

“It’s kind of a puzzle that’s very difficult to figure out, and we do a good job figuring it out,” Beck said. “And that’s why we have made the very difficult decision of reducing service temporarily.”