As of the afternoon of 1/25/18 all Route JX service has been suspended until further notice. Instead, passengers are being advised to take the Route JPX.
For our “JX” passengers who are nervous about the route not operating; the JPX is operating and only makes one additional stop in Pinole during peak commute hours. Otherwise, it operates the same route as the JX. The suspension of the JX service is only temporary.
To all of our passengers who have experienced delays or missed runs as of late, we greatly apologize. Due to changes in the Bay Area labor market, our operations contractor has struggled to maintain a sufficient number of reserve drivers to respond to unexpected absences, illnesses and family emergencies affecting our regular drivers. December and January have been a particularly difficult months, as several drivers were prevented from driving due to physical or family crises. Typically, our contractor has enough supervisory/management staff to cover our regular drivers’ absences, but the number of absences in December & January is unprecedented, and for the first time in recent memory, we have missed scheduled runs.
Many of our drivers have volunteered to extend their work day to back fill the routes that are uncovered. They do this to the extent that they can without violating regulations limiting the maximum time a driver can be behind the wheel. The drive-time regulations, in turn, may allow a driver to start a shift, driving perhaps two of the four or five runs in that shift, before having to retire from service for that day. The dispatchers are trying to optimize the drivers’ available service time, by assigning the driver to the route that makes the most productive use of the time that driver has available. This is being done throughout the day of service, making it difficult to know exactly what runs are covered, and which will not be operated that day.
Since this problem has surfaced, we have prioritized the JPX over maintaining all the JX trips for the simple reason that both routes serve the same end points (BART & HTC), and the difference in travel time between the two routes is only 6 minutes. While we understand that this has been inconvenient for JX passengers, the consequence for JPX passengers who board or alight at intermediate stops in Pinole or on Hercules Avenue, would be far more significant if the JPX runs did not operate. The midday JPX has a couple additional stops compared to the JX, allowing passengers access to the Richmond Parkway Transit Center, Fitzgerald Dr., and Pinole Valley Road in Pinole. During peak commute hours the JPX only has one extra stop at SPROUTS on Pinole Valley Road.
Again, we realize our service has not been up to our usual standards, and has created problems for our passengers. Our contractor has transferred several drivers from other locations to help us get up to full staffing, and we think the underlying coverage problems will be resolved within a week or so.
We are truly sorry for the difficulties this has created for our customers using our service in recent weeks. Passengers may contact our administrative office directly at (510) 724-3331 (M-F from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) if they have any comments or suggestions for what we could do to improve their experience with the WestCAT system. We apologize for the inconvenience.