Why Millenials and Gen-Z Will Bypass a Career Driving The Bus
With national protests pushing for a higher minimum wage, you would assume that the generation fighting for these things would take the low-hanging fruit directly in front of them. Driving the public bus in some markets is an easy way to make 6-figures without having a college degree. For the record, some people with a college degree still don’t make 6 figures. True story, while most of my friends were grinding through college, at the age of 21 I was already making 50K a year. Which in 2011 was unheard of for someone my age. All from driving up and down Greenmount ave.
Driving the bus has everything Millenials and Gen-Z are currently fighting for.
- No College Debt
- More Than an Acceptable Wage
But this hasn't been enough to get them through the door, and if they have entered the industry most leave within their first two years.
As a backdoor millennial (born in 89) I’ll explain why Transit can’t attract or keep the next generation of Bus Operators.
My transit career started back in 2010 when I was a brand new 20-year-old trying to find a career path that fits me. I had no desire to go to a 4-year institution, asthma kept me away from the army, and though Safeway Food Markets had treated me great, It was the first and only job I had worked till that point. I needed to see the rest the working world had to offer.
I’m currently 32, and after about 10 years of driving I had reached my limit, and ultimately walked away on my 31st birthday. But with a clean CDL, clean accident record, and a love for driving the bus, there isn't enough money to get me to go back full time.
Here’s the elephant in the room on why transit can’t and probably won't recruit the younger generation.
Simple version: Bus Operations from top to bottom is built for older people, by older people.
Transit is old.
The union infrastructure is old.
The seniority system is old.
The bidding system is old.
The swings and scheduling model are old.