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Metro Transit is cutting service in an effort to make buses more reliable for riders amid an "unprecedented" driver shortage. 

The Twin Cities transit agency recently shared it will make service adjustments on bus routes starting Dec. 4. Metro Transit is reducing service hours by 5%, with some routes running less frequently and some routes being temporarily suspended. 

"Reducing service is never something we want to do. We know these changes will be inconvenient to some of you and may be more difficult for others. But we have also heard that what you want more than anything else is a schedule you can rely on," Wes Kooistra, general manager of Metro Transit, wrote in a blog post., adding "I want to apologize to anyone who has experienced times when a bus or train was not there when it was scheduled to be there."

Related [June 15]: 'The picture has not been good': Pandemic still significantly impacting Metro Transit ridership

This comes as Metro Transit faces an "unprecedented" driver shortage that has led to canceled trips for many customers, including several canceled routes on Tuesday, because it does not have enough people to meet the current schedules. 

Despite holding monthly hiring events (more are planned for Nov. 13 and Nov. 16), Metro Transit is still about 80 drivers short of what it needs, Kooistra said.

The cuts mean riders may have to walk a bit further to take public transit or spend a little more time on the bus than before, but Kooistra says the changes will improve service reliability over the coming months. 

Metro Transit says it considered ridership levels, reliance on transit service, the availability of other routes and equity to reduce the impact on people of color when altering the service.

A full list of the impacted routes is available on Metro Transit's website here

Metro Transit reviews and analyzes resources and ridership trends quarterly to make adjustments to schedules so it can best serve riders.

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