A Challenged Employment System: Hiring, Training, Performance Evaluation, and Retention of Bus Operators

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - performance, planning - surveys, ridership - drivers, economics - appraisal/evaluation, organisation - performance, mode - bus, literature review - literature review


Bus drivers, Hiring policies, Innovation, Interviewing, Literature reviews, Performance evaluations, Personnel retention, State of the practice, Surveys, Training, Transit operating agencies


This synthesis will be of interest to transit agency professionals and the consultants who work with them in dealing with bus operator employment processes. It offers a snapshot of public agencies' practices in bus operator hiring, training, performance evaluation, and retention. Each of these areas is uniquely different, but also highly interrelated; therefore, it is necessary to consider all areas for a complete understanding of the subject. The transit industry is experiencing the same stresses on its employment processes as are affecting employers across the country. This tight labor market, combined with changing work-force demographics and difficult transit working conditions, creates a definite staffing challenge. Survey information provided might suggest that transit has not yet adopted an across-the-board, systematic approach to employment systems, where the elements of hiring, training, performance evaluation, and retention are handled in an integrated fashion. The focus in this document is on presenting information reported simply and in such a way as to reinforce the interrelated nature of employment processes and opportunities for transit agencies to realign efforts so that they might work in an integrated fashion. This document integrates information from a literature review of transit and related periodicals and websites, from survey responses from 29 transit agencies, and from contacts with agencies reporting new and innovative practices.


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