New Jersey Transit announced Wednesday that 500 bus operators have graduated from its training program during Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration.
The new drivers are part of an effort to ensure the necessary staffing is in place to serve the state’s transportation needs.
“As the densest state in the nation, safe and reliable public transportation is a necessity in New Jersey,” Murphy said. “Seeing 500 bus operators graduate from this training program is a clear sign New Jersey Transit is on track to achieving exceptional bus service, and I thank these men and women for their hard work and dedication.”
“These new bus operators are integral to our efforts to improve NJ Transit’s customer service experience,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “We are committed to increasing the number of our operators, and to provide them with a modernized bus fleet to create a safe, efficient and environmentally sensitive ride for our customers.”
Including the 500 graduates, the transit agency now has 3,313 full-time and 147 part-time bus operators on the road providing more than 150 million customer trips each year. The number of available operators has risen by more than 12 percent since Murphy took office, according to NJ Transit. There are currently 34 student operators in training, with additional classes to follow.
In 2018, NJ Transit launched a recruitment effort to hire new bus operators and locomotive engineers. Throughout last year, the agency held open houses to test bus operator candidates on the spot and make tentative offers. A signing bonus of $6,000 was offered to any applicant already possessing a Commercial Driving License A or B certification with a passenger endorsement and air brakes. Through this process more than 10,000 applicants expressed interest, from which these 500 graduates were selected.
“New Jersey Transit is only as good as its people, and we are working hard to bring more talented people to restore our workforce to the levels required for reliable service,” said NJ Transit President & CEO Kevin Corbett.