ShareThis Page
Wanted: Drivers for Westmoreland County’s shared-ride program |

Wanted: Drivers for Westmoreland County’s shared-ride program

| Wednesday, March 7, 2018 4:39 p.m.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
A bus loads passengers at the Westmoreland County Transit in downtown Greensburg on Friday, March 24, 2017.

The private company that operates paratransit services for the Westmoreland County Transit Authority has given drivers a 19 percent pay raise in an effort to lure applicants to fill up to 20 vacancies that have the program struggling to operate at full capacity.

National Express Transit, based in Ohio, last week implemented the pay hike, raising the starting salary for paratransit drivers by $2.25 per hour. Jerome Phillips, the general manager for National Express in Greensburg, said the starting salary for drivers will be $13.91 per hour after they complete 120 hours of training.

“Hopefully we will attract more drivers,” Phillips said.

National Express and the transit authority for months have looked to offset a driver shortage for the program, which provides shared rides throughout the county. The program offers reduced and subsidized door-to-door rides to seniors, handicapped and low-income residents.

Phillips said the Go Westmoreland paratransit program needs 73 drivers to operate its fleet of more than 50 vehicles. It currently has 53 drivers on staff. In January, the authority provided more than 17,400 paratransit trips.

National Express will look to interview and potentially hire new drivers as part of a job fair scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday today at Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood.

“We will hire them right there if they meet certain criteria,” Phillips said.

The company is seeking applicants who have a driver’s license and no prior criminal record.

Meghan Yuhouse, director of operations for the transit authority, said the driver shortage has resulted in more crowded vehicles and a drop in the program’s on-time performance rating.

“It’s created a little more difficulty in finding ride times and scheduling trips. We haven’t refused any requests for rides,” Yuhouse said.

The on-time rate for paratransit rides has dipped to 87 percent. A year ago, the program was averaging 95 percent on-time trips.

National Express has operated the paratransit program for the authority for several years. Its three-year, $14.2 million contract expires at the end of June.

Transit authority board members last year gave the company a $3.6 million one-year extension of a contract to operate its fixed route bus service. That contract also expires this year.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.