CTA is now at 43% (or 304 full-time hires) of its 2023 goal of 700 new bus operators. - Photo: CTA

CTA is now at 43% (or 304 full-time hires) of its 2023 goal of 700 new bus operators.

Photo: CTA

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) held its latest graduation event, celebrating the completion of training more than 100 employees who have completed the required training required to either advance into supervisory roles or help fill positions to operate buses, assist customers at rail stations, and help clean vehicles.

Hiring More Operators

So far in 2023, the CTA has added 304 new bus operators — more than 43% of its annual hiring goal, according to the agency's news release.

In this latest graduating class, nearly 40 new bus operators have either recently started or will enter service this week after having completed extensive and comprehensive training in all facets of operations, safety, troubleshooting, customer communications, and more. 

“The addition of these nearly 300 new bus operators, is not only a welcome addition to the CTA family but also a proud moment for us as an agency, as they are the next generation of bus operators dedicated to helping keep our City moving forward,” said Dorval R. Carter Jr., CTA president. “We recognize there are a lot of opportunities out there, but few organizations offer a career with the immediate and long-term benefits that CTA has to offer. Today marks a positive step forward as part of our commitment to further improve the reliability of our vital transit services to our customers.”

Of the budgeted 3,707 full-time bus operator positions, a total of 3,279 are filled. CTA is now at 43% (or 304 full-time hires) of its 2023 goal of 700 new bus operators, which will help fill the shortage of about 600 net bus operator positions.

CTA's Recruiting, Retention Efforts

The surge in hiring is the result of CTA’s ongoing and expanded recruiting, hiring, and retention efforts to address an industry-wide shortage of transit workers, which includes five CTA-hosted job fairs with a total attendance of 1,741 interested applicants. 

CTA added that it continues to seek candidates for bus operator, bus mechanic, and flagger positions, which offer newly increased competitive pay rates — starting hourly wages for bus operators is $28.99, bus mechanics is $40.59, and flaggers start at $21.36.

The Rail Flagger position is required for anyone looking to become the operator of one of Chicago’s iconic "L" trains.

CTA also offers a hiring bonus of $1,000.

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