Like many employers, Community Transit, Snohomish County’s regional transit agency, has faced the challenges of recruiting in a competitive job market. The agency is committed to hiring and training bus drivers as quickly as possible to ensure reliable bus service. To rise to the challenge, they are offering the full package to bus drivers: A $5,000 hiring bonus for new drivers, 10 weeks of paid training at $23.36 per hour, and a starting salary of $27.73 per hour after training.
“The future of transit jobs in our region is bright,” says Jeric Caverée, an operations recruiter at Community Transit. “Light rail is expanding to our region in 2024, and our service needs to expand with it. We already serve 46 routes and transport an average of 18,163 commuters each day. Becoming a bus driver in our region is a promising career with all of these exciting changes on the horizon.”
During their first year, Community Transit drivers can earn more than $57,000 on top of the hiring bonus. Since 2018, bus drivers have also been given a 3 percent annual wage increase as well as regular 5.6 percent hourly wage bumps for specific hours-worked milestones. Wage bumps are subject to union contracts, so those numbers may change with negotiations.
Drivers also get 34 days of paid time off and accrued leave in their first year. Employee benefits also include a retirement pension, 95 percent company-paid medical, and 100 percent company-paid dental and vision benefits.
Coach Operator George Jorden found a rewarding career at Community Transit when he started five years ago. “I never thought I’d be a bus driver,” he says. “Once I sat in the driver’s seat, I saw the road from a whole new point of view. I enjoy the freedom of being out and about every day and being a part of a system that keeps the community moving. Working with and having the support of other coach operators and employees makes the job possible.”
Jorden’s experience isn’t unique. Caverée says many of the bus drivers he has spoken to have found fulfillment in helping their communities.
“The need for public transit has never been greater than it is now,” says Caverée. “It is an essential service that connects us. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers have kept our communities moving for the many riders who rely on our services.”
Community Transit holds monthly virtual Career Chat events to allow people to learn more about open positions. Attendees can drop in anytime during the event window to chat with people who are doing the work. The agency is also recruiting mechanics and other administrative roles. Their next Career Chat is on June 16 from 4 to 5 p.m. RSVP to attend.
“This is a great agency with many job opportunities where you can learn and grow,” says Jorden. “I will be starting in a new role as a Coach Operator Instructor in a few weeks and I’m very excited to work with new drivers.”
Learn more about being a bus driver, RSVP for their upcoming virtual Career Chat, or apply at communitytransit.org/driven.