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77 Bus Operators Complete Training at Zerega Bus Depot

New York City Transit
Updated Apr 14, 2022 5:15 p.m.

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 77 bus operators following their successful completion of training at the Zerega Training Center in Castle Hill in the Bronx. This new class of bus operators is another significant addition to 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 on February 27, 2022. 

The graduation comes as New York City Transit Bus and MTA Bus Company combined ridership hovers around 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Bus performance also continues to improve this year, with service delivery averaging above 94% this year so far. The new influx of bus operators also comes as MTA buses continue to see improvements in Wait Assessment and Additional Bus Stop Time respectively. 

The completed training follows the launch of the newly developed Queens Bus Network Redesign’s New Draft Plan last month, 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. 

“A special congratulations to the new class of New York City Transit bus operators joining our dedicated and talented workforce,” said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. “This new class exemplifies the commitment of the MTA to aggressively onboard more bus operators and bring us back to pre-pandemic vacancy levels in the immediate future.” 

“It is an honor to welcome the newest class of bus operators to the largest municipal fleet in the nation,” said MTA Bus Company Acting President and New York City Transit Department of Buses Senior Vice President Frank Annicaro. “This new class serves as a true testament to our agency’s ongoing commitment, alongside our city partners, to meet key bus priority milestones for this year.” 

The new employees join the 671 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. 

The new graduating class of bus operators will officially begin behind the wheel on April 15th. 

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.