TRIMET’S HIRING! MAX operator positions open to external candidates for first time


Non-TriMet employees are now eligible to apply directly for MAX operator jobs and enter training pipeline

TriMet is offering a fast track to a career in light rail operations. For the first time ever, we are seeking candidates from outside TriMet who are interested in becoming MAX operators. This comes as TriMet continues our biggest hiring push in the agency’s history.

Positions come with a starting wage of $29.18 per hour and a $7,500 hiring bonus, with regular pay increases as part of the Working and Wage Agreement between TriMet and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 757. In addition to representation by the ATU, MAX operators receive great benefits, access to overtime, generous retirement accounts, paid time off and career development opportunities. 

Beginning Friday, April 26, people with no prior TriMet experience can apply to become MAX operators at This gives you the chance to join an exclusive team of dedicated, highly-trained light rail professionals who keep the region moving every day. No bus training is required!

After the hiring process, candidates will bypass the seven-week bus operator training and instead be slotted into the next available MAX training class. Due to the fast-tracking of available MAX positions, they are open to candidates with a safe driving record and who already possess a valid Class “A or B” Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or who can obtain a CDL permit. This requires taking three written tests at the DMV. Once employed, TriMet provides CDL driving training, with new hires obtaining their licenses on the job.

MAXimum career potential 

A MAX Yellow Line train travels through Downtown on its way to the Expo Center

We know that operating a train is a dream for many people. After all, it isn’t an opportunity that comes along often. It requires learning the “language of the railroad” and developing unique skills, along with committing to a culture of customer service and safety. No matter what position you fill at TriMet, you’re the point person to help our customers and make sure they feel safe and welcome. These foundational skills are priorities for TriMet, and excelling at them opens a world of possibilities! 

In addition to the $7,500 hiring bonus, MAX operators receive a generous package of benefits that includes:

  • Medical, dental, vision, disability and life insurance plans at low or no monthly cost
  • Two retirement plans, with an 8% agency base pay contribution to an employee’s 401a account
  • One week of paid vacation and up to 40 hours sick leave in the first year of employment, with paid time off rolling over and increasing over time
  • Health and dependent care spending accounts
  • Access to our Employee Assistance Program with mental health and counseling services, legal assistance, financial coaching and home ownership programs
  • Annual transit pass for employee and eligible family members
  • 24-hour access to five exclusive, low-cost, on-site fitness centers
  • Representation by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 75

Requirements and opportunities

One of the unsung benefits of TriMet is the opportunity for career advancement. TriMet often hires from within for supervisory and managerial positions that require knowledge of our procedures and system. Exciting future career opportunities include Rail Training Supervisor, Rail Supervisor, Rail Controller, Rail Service Coordinator and many others.

MAX operator positions themselves were first extended to internal candidates before being made available to the general public. They require:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • At least three years of driving experience with a clean record
  • Ability to obtain an Oregon or Washington Commercial Learner Permit
  • Ability to meet the physical requirements of the position

Get hired, receive training

Becoming a MAX operator requires extensive training. During training, you’ll become an expert on each of TriMet’s five lines. Training lasts 12 weeks and includes classroom and field instruction behind the controls. In addition to obtaining your Commercial Driver’s License, you’ll learn the ins and outs of operating a train safely and ways to troubleshoot problems. 

Join the team!

MAX operators in training.

TriMet is hiring for a whole range of positions amid an historically tight employment market. Nonetheless, jobs in transit remain competitive, appealing and stable. We continue to hire maintenance workers, technicians, cleaners, mechanics and operators. 

Growth is our goal. This means bringing on even more operators–not only to match the current demand, but also to help meet future needs. Starting this summer, we will be increasing MAX Red Line service by extending it 10 stations west, from Beaverton to Hillsboro. Along with that, our Forward Together Service Concept emphasizes growing ridership and improving connections by expanding our Frequent Service bus network and extending bus service to new areas. This multi-year concept for service improvements, through 2029, requires bus and rail operators to support it.
To learn more about all the jobs TriMet offers, visit