With more bus drivers on staff, Metro Transit continues to add services
One year after being faced with service cuts due to a lack of bus drivers, Metro Transit says levels have rebounded.
The agency says it has hired hundreds of bus operators and service is up 10% compared to 2022.
“There’s never a dull moment, even though I do the same thing every day,” said Mark Parr, a bus operator with Metro Transit.
Parr is in his sixth year as a bus driver for Metro Transit, and is now taking on a mentor role for new bus operators like Bekele Bayisa.
“As long as you just follow the rules and drive safely, it wasn’t hard to drive,” said Bayisa, who is wrapping up his first year as a bus operator with Metro Transit. “I’m really, really happy, I enjoy it. Just driving the bus and helping people is my favorite.”
“That’s my favorite part of the job now,” Parr said about helping new drivers.
Last year around this time, Metro Transit was announcing another reduction in service.
“We had all this service that we wanted to deliver, not quite enough people,” Brian Funk, Metro Transit’s chief operating officer, said.
Fast forward one year, Funk says they’ve brought on nearly 400 bus operators and are at 90% of pre-pandemic service levels.
“Schedules are really good, ridership is back,” Funk said.
One key reason for attracting new talent is a new paid CDL training program.
“Now, we’re hiring people and you’re being paid to complete that training,” Funk said.
By the end of 2027, Metro Transit is opening five new bus rapid transit lines.
“We know that our customers want more, we want to deliver more,” Funk said.
With several new bus routes around the Twin Cities metro area, Metro Transit will need even more drivers, and Parr is ready to continue to be a positive influence for anyone new to the job.
“I get to see the people who are kind of shaky and unsure of what they’re getting into, and you can encourage them and build them up and help them go in a direction in life to provide for their family,” Parr said.
For more information on becoming a transit operator, click here.