Class Is Part of a Push to Rebuild Front Line Workforce in Aftermath of Pandemic-Induced Hiring Freeze
Bus Operators, Train Operators and Conductors Expected to Reach Pre-Pandemic Staffing Levels Second Quarter of 2022
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the graduation of 68 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 (NYCT) 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 February 2022.
The graduation took place as New York City Transit Bus and MTA Bus Company combined ridership hovers around 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Earlier this week, the MTA also announced the release of the newly developed Queens Bus Network Redesign’s New Draft Plan. The Queens Bus Network Redesign is one of the largest bus network redesigns in the country, with over 100 routes, serving almost 800,000 average weekday riders in 2019, and is now the third project of the MTA’s ambitious initiative to rework and enhance bus networks in every borough.
“At a time where New York City Transit is working to improve bus networks, these new operators will allow for more reliable service throughout the five boroughs,” said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. “By increasing class sizes and improving recruiting, the MTA will return to pre-pandemic staffing levels later this year."
“Riders coming back to the system deserve reliable service, and these bus operators will help address the staffing challenges we’ve experienced,” said MTA Bus Company Acting President and New York City Transit Department of Buses Senior Vice President Frank Annicaro. “I am excited to welcome this new group to our team.”
The new employees join the 636 bus operators, 425 train operators and 341 conductors who recently completed their training, and the hundreds of 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.