SALEM, Va. -

The Interstate 81 shutdown has also been a nuisance for public transit and its passengers.

The Smart Way bus picks up and drops off commuters to and from the New River Valley at Exit 140.

Valley Metro operates the Smart Way, and they say combating the traffic has certainly been a challenge.

One rider says he spent almost three hours on the bus Wednesday.

Valley Metro tells us the backups have slowed service to the point where they've had to deploy additional buses to try to keep up.

If a bus gets an hour or so behind, Valley Metro will deploy another bus to try to keep everything on schedule.

Riders who rely on the bus say they don't have any choice but to be patient in these long delays.

“It takes plenty of patience to sit three hours like that,” Smart Way rider Wayne Moses said.

Valley Metro tells us the delays have averaged 30 to 40 minutes, but it really depends on the time of day and if there are any issues on the Route 11/460 detour like drivers and passengers encountered Thursday.