Metro Transit gets creative in bid to attract new drivers

Metro Transit is dealing with a shortage of bus drivers that has impacted service since even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the organization is getting creative in an attempt to attract new drivers.

Saturday morning, Metro Transit held a hiring event in Minneapolis’ North Loop that allowed visitors to test drive a 40-foot bus.

Staff was on hand to answer questions, help with applications and provide information on how applicants can get a commercial driver’s license.

Metro Transit’s Chief Operating Officer, Brian Funk, says they’re looking to hire around 200 new drivers. With a good turnout at Saturday’s event, officials are hoping to chip away at that number.

“You have a good shot. People who have a little bit of a driving background tend to move through it a little bit quicker but it’s absolutely not necessary,” Funk said.

“I’m really hoping we get drivers back in the seat because we really, really need drivers,” Jean Hammonds, a driving instructor for Metro Transit, added.

Hammonds said she enjoys her job and encourages others to give it a shot.

“I meet interesting people all the time. I just love my job,” she said.

However, she also wants applicants to understand what they’re signing up for.

“You’re not going to have an 8-5 job so you have to be willing to be patient with the hours, and the training here is great and once you get through the training, Metro Transit coaches you all the way so you just have to be patient with your hours,” Hammonds said.

Mechanics and Metro Transit police officers were also on site Saturday, as they’re also hiring and looking for more candidates.

Metro Transit says it is offering a $5,000 signing bonus, and full-time drivers start out making around $26.16 per hour.

More information is available online.