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TriMet’s bus operator recruitment and hiring efforts continue through the holiday season with incentives including $2,500 hiring bonus

UPDATE: As of May 1, 2022, TriMet increased the bus operator starting wage to $25.24 per hour. New bus operators are also eligible to receive a $7,500 hiring bonus. Learn more at trimet.org/drive.

Add some cheer to the holidays! Steer your sleigh to TriMet! We’re hiring bus operators, and the holidays could be the perfect time to put yourself in the driver’s seat! All new TriMet bus operators receive a $2,500 hiring bonus, and we’ve raised the starting pay by more than $4 to $21.84 per hour. With guaranteed pay raises, our full time bus operators reach top rate of $32.91 per hour in just three years and can easily earn more than $68,000 annually with overtime. Plus, TriMet operators receive a stocking stuffed with benefits, including paid sick leave and vacation; access to generous health, dental, vision and life insurance plans; and pension and retirement benefits, including a monthly contribution by TriMet to your individual retirement account. Learn more at trimet.org/driveforus.

Holiday helpers

At TriMet, our sleigh is a 40-foot bus according to operator Tiffany Pitre. She says operators work like a team of reindeer to safely deliver precious cargo across Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.

Bus operator Tiffany Pitre

“I consider myself Rudolph, because I am that leader who gets to bring in the sleigh,” she said with a smile. “I get to deliver the most precious gifts of all. The present is your family, your friends, you.”

The college-educated mother of three walked away from a job in recruiting when she joined our team almost two years ago. She gladly left behind fluorescent lights for an office with a view of nature, changing seasons and festive holidays. It was a better fit for Tiffany and her family.

“I am a divorcee, and I have a child with a chronic condition,” she explained. “TriMet is able to accommodate my lifestyle so that I can do what I need to do for the company and still be a present mom for my children. Plus, because of the benefits, I have been able to take care of my family and live very comfortably.”

Tiffany rode transit regularly before getting a driver license for the first time about six years ago. She credits TriMet for providing excellent training that boosted her confidence behind the wheel. All new bus operators receive seven weeks of paid training in preparation for heading out on the road.

“They will take you from ‘Oh my gosh! Scared! Brake!’ to ‘I can park a 40-foot bus almost anywhere!’” she beamed. “I’ve been on every bridge in the city. I’ve driven from Oregon City to Hillsboro and to the border of Oregon and Washington. I’ve driven on roads that I couldn’t image driving on, let alone in a bus. And I love it.”

She also loves sharing the holiday traditions of riders on her bus.

“Last year, I was able to work Black Friday at Clackamas Town Center. Hearing how people were celebrating the holidays, what they were fixing for their families and what it looked like during that time, it was an amazing experience,” she remembered. “Plus even though we’re in uniform, there’s a lot of flexibility. I get to bring my bling and decorations with me. People really enjoy it.”

Tiffany takes time to weave holiday magic into the ride, adding a sequin-studded mask, sparkly reindeer antlers and a jingling bracelet of bells to her uniform. But she says, it’s her riders who remind her of the reason for the season, and they do it all year long.

“We really do live in a wonderful city, and being an operator has really just illuminated that for me. There are so many good people,” she said. “My faith in humanity has been really restored since I’ve become a bus operator because I see so many acts of kindness, literally every single day.”

For Tiffany, landing a career with TriMet has been a gift, and she’s quick to encourage others to come along for the ride.

“Start the new year off right. Join TriMet!” she encouraged. “Look for an opportunity to be Santa yourself. You get to deliver those presents, and the presents are the public. This is how we roll.”

A benefits package tied with a bow!

In addition to starting pay of $21.84 per hour and a $2,500 hiring bonus for all new bus operators, TriMet’s package of benefits reads like a holiday wish list:

  • All new bus operators receive seven weeks of paid training, including commercial driver license (CDL) education and certification.
  • TriMet offers health, dental, vision, disability and life insurance plans and contributes up to 95% of monthly health insurance premiums.  
  • In addition to offering pension and retirement plans, TriMet makes a monthly contribution of 8% of every employee’s base pay toward retirement.
  • New bus operators receive one week of paid vacation and up to 40 hours sick leave in the first year of employment, with time off increasing after the first year.
  • Employees have access to health care and dependent care spending accounts, if desired.
  • TriMet offers an expansive Employee Assistance Program with free access to mental health and counseling services, legal assistance, financial coaching and home ownership programs.
  • All employees and eligible family members can receive an annual transit pass (valued up to $1200).
  • Employees and eligible family members have 24-hour access to five exclusive on-site fitness centers, with plans starting at $13/month.
  • TriMet bus operators receive representation by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 757.

Visit trimet.org/driveforus to apply today!