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Rider's Almanac Blog

Bus Light Rail

Focus on workforce development brings welcome signs of progress

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, March 2, 2023 8:03:00 PM

From Brian Funk, Chief Operating Officer  

In early February, more than 150 job seekers visited our new North Loop Garage to test drive a bus, get help completing their applications, and sit down for an interview all within about an hour.   

It was a remarkable scene and another encouraging sign that we are starting to emerge from the operator shortage that has limited the amount of service we can reliably provide.

We remain about 200 bus operators shy of what our operating budget allows and will keep service levels about the same as they are today for at least the next several months. 

But with dozens of new hires on a path to becoming full-time operators, there is reason to be optimistic we’ll be able to add more trips to several routes later this year. 

That good news comes as we begin seeking your input on how we should think about expanding service as staffing levels and funding allow us to do so. Please, complete this short survey that will help inform the next phases of our Network Now project.  

As always, getting people in the door is just the first step.   

To fully capture this momentum, we are doing all we can to support our newest operators. This is especially important for those participating in a new program that allows us to hire and pay people preparing to earn their Commercial Driver’s License permits. 

Hiring bus operators has been a major focus, and the results we’re seeing reflect the significant effort that’s been put forward. But there is other encouraging workforce development news to share, too.   

  • We are now offering a unified job posting for mechanic technicians, inviting job seekers to learn more about pathways in bus and rail as they move through the hiring process.  

  • 14 people recently entered the third month of a new state-registered apprentice program that puts them on a path to becoming full-time mechanic technicians, part of a larger effort to build our maintenance teams.  

  • We recently added tuition reimbursement of up to $18,000 for Community Service Officers who play a key part in our effort to expand the official presence on transit.  

These and other positive developments are welcome signs of progress. Still, our work is far from over. Please continue to encourage people in your networks to consider joining us – we need all the help we can get.   

We're hiring!

There are immediate openings for bus drivers to start full-or part-time after receiving paid training. No experience is necessary. We’ll provide the training you need AND pay you a signing bonus of up to $5,000 if you have a CDL; or $3,000 if not. After training, you’ll receive fantastic benefits, including health care, annual salary increases, a state pension, and an unlimited-ride transit pass. Learn more at