Brampton Transit is promising to restore service on a number of cancelled routes as soon as it begins to see a reduction in unplanned absences.

The transit system announced on Wednesday that it would cancel service on eight routes amid staffing shortages and reduced ridership.

The latest service adjustments are in addition to the 12 other routes, which service was already cancelled on at the outset of the pandemic.

Speaking with CP24 on Thursday, Brampton Transit’s General Manager Alex Milojevic explained that the unplanned absence rate among operators has risen from around six to eight per cent pre-pandemic to 20 to 25 per cent in recent weeks, making the service changes mostly unavoidable.

Ridership has also decreased from 85 per cent of pre-pandemic leaves to 65 per cent amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

“The worst thing we can do is to put out there for a customer that a route is going to be coming there and it is cancelled because we don’t have an operator to actually drive that route. So we would rather make sure that we are able to manage effectively and people can plan their trips accordingly,” Milojevic said. “As soon as we start experiencing our absenteeism rate coming back and being reduced we will immediately implement the regular service.”

Milojevic said that Brampton Transit has attempted to only axe routes where there is duplicate service provided by another route so as to “minimize” the impact on customers.

He said that the hope is that service will be restored within weeks, however that will be contingent on a reduction in absences.

“Absolutely it is very dynamic. For example if we regain our resources back one week later we will be implementing service one week later. But we don’t know when this will slowly start going on the downhill,” he said.

So far a number of other transit agencies have also reduced service amid an increase in staff absences, including Mississauga’s MiWay.

GO Transit also introduced a new schedule this week that reduces service by about 15 per cent across its network.

For a full list of Brampton Transit routes that have been impacted follow this link.