Blacksburg Transit hoping to return to pre-pandemic ridership levels

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 3:13 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Blacksburg Transit is working to get as many bus drivers as possible behind the wheel this summer.

“We’ve had very full training classes these last few months, and we’re just keeping the ball rolling to hopefully get staffed as quickly as possible,” Blacksburg Transit’s Lincoln Sklar said.

Even with those full trainings there are around 100 drivers on staff. The goal is to have around 135.

“It’s important, the more drivers we can get, the more service we can put out, the fewer number of cars on the road, the more passengers we can carry,” Sklar said.

Blacksburg Transit says it can work with anyone over the age of 19 who has or is eligible for a driver’s license.

“We have people who’ve driven nothing bigger than the minivan who within six to eight weeks are fully driving buses,” Sklar said.

The pandemic put the brakes on ridership around Blacksburg, but BT hopes to creep back up to 2019 levels this fall.

“The pandemic slowed our ridership down a lot, this has really been a rebuilding year, we’re running at about 75%, or a little bit more of what we saw in our last year before the pandemic, which was our highest ridership,” Sklar said.

Even with students back in Blacksburg, that doesn’t mean ridership will return to historic levels.

“Part of that depends on Virginia Tech, if they’re continuing to have more online class options. I know a lot of students really enjoy that,” Sklar said.

If you’d like to apply to work for Blacksburg Transit click here.

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