City of Detroit looks to hire more than 100 bus drivers

Candice Williams
The Detroit News
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Training will begin this month for candidates to fill more than 100 bus driver positions with the city of Detroit.

The Detroit Department of Transportation hiring, officials said Monday, is an effort to provide reliable, timely public transit service.

“We are making significant progress at DDOT and we have a lot of opportunity right now for individuals who have a Commercial Driver’s License or are willing to let us train them,” DDOT Director Dan Dirks said in a statement Monday.

The starting wage is $11.38 per hour, up from $9.38 an hour.

Fred Westbrook Jr., president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26, said the rise in pay may attract some applicants, but the rate will have to increase even more to keep them. The union is seeking higher pay for bus drivers — which tops out at $16.25 — to match pay in suburban transit operations, such as $19 to start for SMART bus drivers and $23 for bus drivers in Ann Arbor.

There are 425 DDOT bus drivers, according to transit officials.

Westbrook said the hires will provide some relief for drivers.

“Overall we need it because my members are stressed out,” Westbrook said. “They’re doing the work of two, three people. They can’t get all the buses out on the main roads. ... Drivers are doing the work of two buses. They have to pass up people. That creates verbal assaults. People are packed in and they’re stressed out.”

DDOT has made changes to a system which has long had the reputation for late service and crime issues.

DDOT said it has bought 80 buses, added cameras on buses and offered more options for riders with disabilities. Currently, the department has 175 buses.

Those interested in applying to be a bus driver must have a high school diploma or GED and be able to obtain a Michigan Commercial Driver’s License with Group A or B designation and Passenger and Air Brake endorsements.

Applicants can meet with DDOT officials and talk with bus drivers during upcoming career fairs:

■10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Wayne County Community College District Job Fair, Eastern Campus, 5901 Conner.

■9 a.m. May 9 at the LGBT Detroit Job Fair, Charles H. Wright Museum, 315 E. Warren.

■9 a.m. May 9 at the Motor City Career Day, Considine Little Rock Family Life Center, 8904 Woodward.

Those interested can apply at Opportunities/Find-A-Job.

(313) 222-2311

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