The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) announced that its paratransit operators will now be paid among the highest wages in the country with the starting base rate at $23.31 per hour, an increase of $3.31 per hour.
This wage is 31 cents higher than operators in Brooklyn, NY, where the cost of living is between 22%-41% higher than in the Charlotte area.
More Benefits from CATS' Changes
In addition to the highest wages, paratransit operators at CATS are eligible for shift differential. Employees regularly assigned to second or third shifts are eligible to receive an additional 2.5% premium added to their weekly base pay.
On top of equitable wages, paratransit operators at CATS are City of Charlotte employees, making them eligible for the competitive city benefits package including being a part of the state retirement system, in addition to a 401k program.
“Competitive and fair benefits, as well as recognizing our employees' hard work, is always a goal for CATS. Our employees are the backbone of our organization, this latest increase in wages reflects our unwavering support of the important work our paratransit drivers do each and every day,” said Brent Cagle, Interim CEO of CATS.
New hires are immediately placed on payroll following pre-employment testing, allowing for paid training at the new starting pay wage and immediate access to medical benefits.
A CDL and COVID vaccine are not required for paratransit operators.
‘’With this latest achievement, we believe CATS is a leader in the industry when it comes to equitable compensation for professional operators in the paratransit field. By raising awareness of the specialized role that paratransit operators play, other transportation services across the country may begin to reassess wage standards for non-CDL professional operators”, said Jennifer Fehribach, GM of the Bus Operations Division.