The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is offering up to a $2,500 pay incentive as part of a new campaign to hire more bus drivers. WMATA, like transit agencies and other industries nationwide, is facing a staffing shortage due to the pandemic and is looking to hire nearly 70 bus drivers needed to meet the current bus service schedule. Additional drivers will also be necessary to fill vacancies month-to-month to account for attrition and retirement.
Hiring more bus drivers is vital to keeping the region moving with more than 1,000 buses operating on 187 routes on a peak weekday throughout the District, Maryland, and Virginia. Today, daily bus ridership averages 180,000 trips, approximately 60% of pre-pandemic levels and higher than rail ridership.
“Metrobus is essential to the economic well-being of the region, connecting people to jobs, hospitals, stores and other activities. None of this would be possible without our bus operators,” said WMATA GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “We want operators with a passion for customer service and who understand how much the job they do matters to the lives of people every day.”
Bus drivers will receive a $1,000 signing bonus in their first paycheck upon hiring. A minimum of a commercial driver learner’s permit is required to start in the position. If candidates don’t have experience driving a bus, the agency will provide training. After completing the 10-week training drivers will get the remaining $1,500 bonus pay.
In addition, WMATA offers competitive pay with a starting salary for bus operators of more than $25/hour after completion of training plus overtime and benefits, including health care, retirement benefits, and paid time off. Drivers also enjoy other great perks, such as free transportation anywhere Metrobus or Metrorail go.
The agency will be putting out ads as part of the campaign through digital and social media, radio, and bus billboards.