TriMet is in need of more drivers. The transit agency is currently facing a “historic” labor shortage that will begin affecting 10 bus lines in mid-September.
JC Vannatta is the executive director of public affairs at TriMet. He says the shortage is a result of operators leaving the agency, heading into retirement and moving up within the company.
“We’re down 350 operators,” he said. “For the past year, it’s been our priority to hire bus drivers.”
The agency is currently offering some incentives to applicants, including a $7,500 signing bonus and starting pay from $21.36 to $25.24 an hour.
TriMet is hopeful this will persuade more people to work for the agency and they believe it has worked so far. They have currently hired 140 people.
“All of our training classes are full,” Vannatta said. “If we keep this clip we should be able to begin restoring service by sometime next year.”
Vannatta spoke to OPB’s Think Out Loud about their labor shortage. Listen to the full conversation here: