COAST: Unexpected Driver Shortage Forcing Temporary Suspension of Services

Sep 1, 2023

While COAST has been slowly reintroducing suspended services in the last few months with staffing improvements, a recent wave of staff unavailability is forcing new temporary suspensions. The new suspensions will take effect on Friday, September 1.

After coming very close to renewing all weekday and Saturday services by mid-spring of this year, ridership has seen a notable improvement over the summer.

Nichols confirmed, “the primary reason COAST is suspending these services is due to several current staff being out for a variety of reasons and are therefore not available to drive. Our goal is to get back to full operations as soon as possible.”

New Service Suspensions

Starting on Friday, September 1, and continuing until COAST reaches adequate staffing levels, services on the following bus routes will be affected:

  • Route 1 (Saturday only)
  • Route 33 (Saturday only)
  • Route 34 (Saturday only)
  • Route 40 (Mon-Fri)
  • Route 43 (Mon-Fri)

For more information on the specific runs being suspended on each of the affected routes, please visit

Starting wages for CDL Bus Drivers at COAST start at $25.20-$27.00 per hour. After a CDL Bus Driver completes their first year at COAST, the wage rate currently increases by an average of 14.6 percent per year through their third anniversary. COAST’s wage scale is also increased annually, or more frequently when necessary, to account for market conditions and inflation. The organization regularly has overtime opportunities which result in time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in a week. COAST also offers a benefits package including medical, dental, disability, life, generous paid time off, SIMPLE IRA with employer match, and many others.

Rad Nichols, COAST Executive Director stated, “We are a mission driven public transit system, offering good career-oriented jobs that positively impact the communities we operate in. When you leave work for the day here at COAST, you know you made a real difference in people’s lives.”

COAST provides a comprehensive paid training program that allows operators to be fully prepared prior to driving routes on their own. Unfortunately, COAST cannot train drivers to get their commercial driver’s license, due to liability insurance restrictions. However, COAST can help CDL drivers earn their passenger endorsement, if needed.

Being a public transit bus driver can be an incredibly rewarding career, where every day you help your many passengers safely get to work or school and back, go to doctor appointments, make trips to the grocery store or local retailers, meet up with friends for a day or an evening out, or otherwise go about their daily lives. COAST buses are “rolling neighborhoods” that represent each of the 13 communities in which they operate. Friendships are formed, life stories and struggles are shared, and successes are celebrated. COAST bus drivers get to experience all that first-hand.

If you have a commercial driver’s license and are looking for a change and a great work environment, please visit

 The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) has provided public transit service to the Seacoast New Hampshire region since 1982. COAST is a public, non-profit transit system that relies primarily on federal and local government support to operate. COAST is governed by a board of directors representing the communities served, two regional planning commissions, and many local and state agencies. COAST is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

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