(VIDEO) Three generations of women from one family drove for TriMet. They think you should too.


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.

Looking for a new career? When you come on board with TriMet, you get a steady job with good pay and exceptional benefits and much more: You become part of the family. In our more than 50 years of service to communities across the tri-county region, there have been many mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who worked side-by-side, or in our case, seat-by-seat, to help people safely get where they need to go. One family – the Marks – has had three generations of TriMet bus operators. They’re all women. Two of them are still with the agency, and they think you should be too.

A good job, through and through

When Marcia Marks wants something, she goes for it. It’s how she first became a bus operator, back in 1979.

“When my kids were little, I watched all the school bus drivers, and I said, ‘I can do that!’”

And she did. Marcia drove a school bus for years, but she was at the wheel of a charter bus in Portland when something on the radio caught her attention.

“There was a TriMet commercial playing, going, ‘We need you!’” she remembered with a chuckle. “So I kept on listening to what they offered, and I go, ‘I want to do that really bad.’”

Not long after hearing the ad, Marcia stopped by TriMet and picked up an application. She also grabbed a few for friends at the charter bus company and made sure one application made its way to the hands of her daughter, Sandy. Sandy was a young mother in search of a better life for her little girl.

“I was chasing money. I was chasing pensions,” Sandy recounted. “A lot of my mom’s friends, they didn’t have pensions. They had two jobs. Their kids had always had nice things, but they worked their (you-know-what’s) off.”

Sandy got hired in no time. A few weeks later, TriMet brought Marcia onboard too. After their careers took off, mother and daughter began courting the next generation. Sandy’s daughter Cheree was working at a tea house and going to Portland State University, but she didn’t know what she wanted to do, long-term.

“I kept on telling her, ‘Come to TriMet, Cheree. You’ll make good money there, and you’ll be happy,” said Marcia.

In 2008, at just 21 ½ years old, Cheree walked into her first bus operator training class. Now a Bus Training Supervisor, she credits TriMet’s training department for her success in the driver’s seat.

“You start to see what you are able to do, and I started to build confidence with my capability,” she recalled. “Every day, I said I’m just going to try my best. It worked, and here I am 14 years later.”

“I knew she would be a good fit,” beamed Cheree’s mom. “Now she’s a supervisor. That was a really big deal in our family.”

For the Marks family, a fourth generation TriMet bus driver may not be out of the question. Cheree’s sister is expecting a baby later this year. In the meantime, they’ve left an open invitation to anyone who’d like to come aboard.

“When you come to TriMet, you become family,” said Cheree.

Benefits worth bragging about

Ready to come on board? TriMet is actively recruiting new members to our team, and we’re offering a comprehensive package of pay, benefits and perks. Among them:

  • $2,500 hiring bonus for all new bus operators
  • Starting pay of $21.84 per hour, with regular increases guaranteed
  • Seven weeks of paid training, including commercial driver license (CDL) education and certification
  • Health, dental, vision, disability and life insurance plans and contributions up to 95% of monthly health insurance premiums.
  • Pension and retirement plans, which include a monthly agency contribution of 8% of an employee’s base pay
  • One week of paid vacation and up to 40 hours sick leave in the first year of employment, with paid time off increasing over time
  • Health care and dependent care spending accounts, if desired
  • Access to our Employee Assistance Program with mental health and counseling services, legal assistance, financial coaching and home ownership programs
  • Annual transit pass (valued up to $1200) for employee and eligible family members
  • 24-hour access to five exclusive on-site fitness centers, with plans starting at $13/month
  • Representation by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 757

Put yourself in the driver’s seat, and join the TriMet team! Visit trimet.org/driveforus to apply today.