The shortage of bus drivers isn’t just limited to the MBTA — the state’s 15 regional transit authorities have also been having problems finding drivers, and had to decrease service as a result.

In areas like Cape Cod, the summer tourist season has exacerbated the situation. Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority employs 115 drivers, 60% of whom are full-time, 20% less than the authority needs to be fully staffed, according to Administrator Tom Cahir. Consequently, the regional agency cut some runs from its fixed-route service, leaving riders — including seasonal workers — unhappy and inconvenienced.

A similar scenario is playing out in another summer destination. Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority Administrator Angela Gompert said the driver shortage on the island has resulted in three service cuts so far this summer, with more possibly coming next month. Gompert said that's resulted in crowded buses and exasperated business owners whose employees depend on the transit agency to get to and from work.

At the statewide Regional Transit Authority Council meeting Wednesday, administrators shared their frustrations about not being able to hire enough drivers and discussed ways they are managing the workforce shortage in their agencies. They also reviewed suggestions from The Transit Center, which describes itself as "a foundation that works to improve public transit in cities across the U.S."

Administrators recommended streamlining the hiring process, including the process of obtaining commercial drivers' licenses, facilitating faster trainings, and improving wages and benefits. Some have already begun uses these approaches to attract new hires. Cape Cod RTA drivers, who are now paid a starting rate of $20.24 per hour, will see a raise of $6 per hour by Jan. 1, 2023.

The center also mentioned improving employee facilities for better health and wellness, something that Noah Berger at the Merrimack Valley RTA has done by installing massage chairs and espresso machines. Berger was the only administrator who said he was “a bit optimistic about restoring our workforce to where it needs to be.” He said the perks help, as does aggressive hiring efforts at job fairs.

Other suggestions, including reducing swing shifts and mandated overtime to prevent operator burnout, will not be as easy to implement. Michael Lambert of the Brockton RTA said when you don’t have the staff, you don’t have the ability to be flexible when it comes to scheduling.

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler was at the council meeting to offer MassDOT assistance in finding new drivers, especially in expediting the required licensing. But he cautioned that while their problems are acute, they are not unique.

"We are not alone," he said. "These [problems] are industry-wide.”

Tesler says after talking with his counterparts around the country, he is convinced the driver shortage will not end in the near future.

“I think that the workforce challenges we face existed to a degree before the pandemic. But they have been accelerated since," he said.

The new environment, he believes, will force all transit administrators to make significant changes in how they do business, especially when it comes to rebuilding their workforces.