Staffing shortage leads to reduction in Cambus service frequency

Cambus announced that certain routes will be running less frequently because of a staffing shortage. The reduced frequency has created headaches for some students.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

The Hawkeye-Pentacrest Cambus picks up a student at the Pentacrest on August 30, 2021

Kate Perez, News Reporter

A staffing shortage is causing a reduction of frequency in Cambus service, causing headaches for some students living further from campus.

On Aug. 25, Cambus released a statement explaining that starting Aug. 30, the 31 Red Route, 32 Blue Route, 35A Interdorm-WCTC, 41 Hawk Lot-Hospital, 51 Hospital-Finkbine/Arena, and 52 Finkbine-Pentacrest routes would have reduced frequency of running because the service is running short on drivers.

Cambus Operations Manager Mia Brunelli said Cambus is taking steps to ensure the routes will be back in full service as soon as possible.

“We are advertising hiring on our actual buses where they say the route,” Brunelli said. “We also recently launched a paid ad campaign on social media on Facebook and plan on expanding to Instagram. That launched last week we are getting a lot of good engagement with that.”

Cambus also attended the Student Job Fair on Aug. 25 to advertise the job openings they have right now. Noah Jedlicka, Cambus personnel supervisor, said Cambus received some interest from students.

“We had around 20 people who put down what they were interested [in a job], and then another 15 to 20 who took a screenshot of the application link,” he said. “So far, in the last week I’ve gotten about 30 applications, so it’s definitely gone through the roof in that aspect.”

Amid students’ concerns, Brunelli said Cambus services are closely monitoring the numbers of ridership to be able to adjust if need be.

“We are pretty flexible, and we will shift things around if we find out something’s not working, and if we are having capacity issues getting students to class, then we can be flexible and then change our approach,” Brunelli said.

For residents of Mayflower Residence Hall and west side residence halls who have limited options of routes to get downtown and are worried, Cambus Manager Brian McClathey said Cambus services are keeping an eye on how the reduction will directly affect those students.

“Mayflower will be something we’ll be watching closely because there aren’t multiple routes during the day that go there,” he said.

While this is not necessarily a problem for all students, for those living further away from campus, like UI first-year student Andy Luu, it is a change to their daily routine.

“I am really worried because as a resident of Mayflower, cars or buses are my only method of transportation other than walking the mile walk to campus. The reduced routes are my main methods of transportation,” Luu said.

Luu said he is worried about making it to class on time.

“I would definitely walk or run to class if the bus takes too long to show up, but I don’t want to show up to class sweaty and tired.”

The Iowa Parking and Transportation website has all service hours for all routes uploaded on it, and Brunelli said Cambus services recommends looking there to know which routes are running at what time.

McClatchey said Cambus services intend to have the training of new hires done by October, when the ridership numbers typically start to increase.

“Our hope is that we would have all of the service restored by [October], get people through training and be able to be in full service by that time,” McClatchey said. “Even if we weren’t completely back to full service, we would be close to it.”