Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit (NYCT) today announced the graduation of 60 newly trained bus operators following their successful completion of training at the Zerega Training Center in Castle Hill in the Bronx. These operators will help New York City Transit tackle crew shortage challenges and bolster the frequency of bus service. This marked the formal end of six weeks of intensive training that began in July 2022.
The graduation took place as NYCT Bus and MTA Bus Company combined ridership hovers between 60 and 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
“We are strategically deploying new operators to areas in Queens and Staten Island to increase staffing levels,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “Students who will take the bus to school can count on this class of operators, along with the rest of our employees, for fast and reliable service.”
The new employees join hundreds of bus operators, train operators and train conductors who recently completed their training, and the NYCT workers who are expected to be onboarded in the months ahead, part of a deliberate effort by the MTA to rapidly grow the number of bus operators, subway train operators and conductors. A hiring freeze, necessitated by a fiscal crisis that developed during the pandemic, depleted the ranks of bus operators with many veteran workers retiring or leaving their frontline posts.
Along with improved recruiting efforts and speeding up training for new employees, the MTA addressed the staff shortage by bringing back recently retired train operators, scheduling additional overtime and buying back vacation time.
The MTA operates more than 5,800 buses that run across 329 routes, carries 16% of the nation’s bus riders, and represents the largest municipal fleet in the nation. In 2019, New York City buses carried more passengers than Los Angeles Metro, Chicago CTA, and San Francisco SFMTA combined.