TRANSIT MODE

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Come Drive with (B)us – Akron METRO Operator Recruitment Event

Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority & Transit Workforce Center
September 2022

Organizations

Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority (METRO): Transit agency serving Summit County, Ohio and the city of Akron, with a fleet totaling 231 vehicles: 140 large buses and 91 smaller paratransit vehicles. METRO employs 425 team members.

Stark State College:  Local event venue and partner in advertising campaign. METRO is currently in the final stages of an agreement with Stark State to supplement its CDL training program.

Program Summary

METRO’s “Come Drive with (B)us” event was a major initiative designed to recruit bus operators.  Held at Stark State College, the event featured on-site bus-related activities, interviews and job applications.  Extensive outreach activities before the event through diverse outlets, combined with the themed ad campaign, brought 99 interested participants and resulted in 71 contingent offers. The key “draw” to this event was the ability to test drive our vehicles on a closed course alongside our staff.  METRO’s idea was that if the thought of driving a bus was keeping people from applying, they could offer a nontraditional mechanism to overcome that hesitancy.  Once that challenge was overcome, the process could focus on the soft skills related to empathy and great customer service that are critical to success.

Key Program Elements

  • Pre-event publicity
    • Pop Art themed ad campaign (viewable on Facebook; an example is attached below as a PDF)
    • Free and purchased advertising through social media, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts
    • Information on METRO’s website
    • Print ads in local daily and weekly publications
    • Two digital billboards, and flyers on buses and posters at METRO’s transit center
    • A radio ad on several local radio stations
    • Two days before to the event, Stark State College promoted the event on their digital sign, readable from the expressway
    • Four radio personalities from four different stations drove the bus two to three weeks prior to the event and promoted on the air, including one station that put together its own video.
    • Television interviews that resulted in a full story and a variety of mentions of the event on other stations
    • Creating two bus wraps with the pop art feel (see PDF below) on careers, though not event-specific
    • Outreach to past applicants
    • Videos of three in-house of staff driving for the first time, along with videos featuring County Executive and Representative Casey Weinstein, and an invite video from METRO’s CEO
  • Event activities and design (see PDF of signage below)
    • Participants were told to bring a valid driver’s license
    • Four clearly-marked stations for applicants to go to where they had the opportunity to:
      • Apply
      • Interview
      • Secure a mobility device
      • Drive a bus
    • Every applicant moved through all four stations
    • At final stop, attendees received:
      • Bag of information
      • Swag
      • Digital and paper copies of the CDL training booklet for them to start studying
    • Event planning activities
      • Started six to eight weeks before event
      • Committee was made of HR, Marketing, Operations, Maintenance and Safety/Security
      • Eighteen staff members worked the day of the event – five working check-in/applications, five doing on-site interviews, two working the mobility station, five running the “test drive” station, and one runner to move between all stations to relieve backlog
      • Used seven 40 foot buses (2 spares) and 2 paratransit vehicles

Outcomes

  • Ninety-nine event attendees interviewed and were able to test drive
  • Twenty-five additional people applied who could not attend; follow up interviews were planned
  • 71 of the 99 were moved through to a “contingent offer” pending background checks with a start date of September 26th
  • Twenty-three of the 99 had areas of their application that required reviewing before proceeding

For more information on this event, contact: Jarrod Hampshire – Chief Operations Officer, METRO RTA 330.808.0144

More recruitment advertising materials and resources can be found here.

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Bus Operators in Crisis

TransitCenter’s report, entitled Bus Operators in Crisis: The Steady Deterioration of One of Transit’s Most Essential Jobs, and How Agencies Can Turn Things Around, analyzes the nationwide phenomenon of bus operator shortages and advocates for enhanced job quality in the occupation.

This resource includes links to the report as well as to a webinar from July, 2022.

TransitCenter
July 2022
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Bus Operator Recruitment and Retention: Confronting Obstacles and Creating Opportunity

This multimedia case study details a high-road training partnership jointly operated by Golden Gate Transit and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1575. This resource contains a brief written summary, presentation slides, and video of a Golden Gate Transit / ATU presentation, which can be accessed by clicking here, or the “Learn More” button. The entire June 7, 2022 TWC webinar, Recruiting and Developing Today’s Transit Workforce, can be found here. It includes a question and answer session, beginning at 51:53, that covers more detail on this and other recruitment initiatives discussed in the webinar.

Transit Workforce Center, Golden Gate Transit, & Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1575
June 2022

Golden Gate Transit (GGT) serves four counties in San Francisco’s North Bay. GGT suspended approximately 90% of its commute service during COVID. As of Spring 2022, the agency was operating at roughly 50% of pre -COVID service levels, but needed to hire and retain large numbers of bus operators as ridership demand returned. To achieve this goal, a GGT and ATU labor-management partnership created a high-road training partnership that worked with local colleges and California Transit Works to establish bus operator mentorship, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. To guide its initiatives and actions, the partnership also examined data and asked underlying questions about the root causes of their employment challenges, resulting in reevaluating and adjusting some of its pathways to employment and hiring guidelines.

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Transit Manager’s Toolkit: Driver Recruitment, Training, and Retention

This section of the toolkit introduces both requirements and suggested practices in the areas of driver recruiting/hiring, retention/motivation, and training.

National RTAP
May 2022
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TWC Briefing Report: Bus Driver Recruitment and Retention in Challenging Times

The TWC released this brief in spring 2022 discussing challenges facing transit agencies in recruiting and retaining bus drivers.

 

Transit Workforce Center
April 2022
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Statewide Bus Operator Attraction, Hiring, & Retention Research

These slides were used in a presentation outlining research conducted to better understand the shape and scale of the bus operator shortage in Massachusetts public transit, and the adjustments agencies are making to confront these challenges.

MBTA / MassDOT
April 2022
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The Road to Zero Emission Buses — National Coordinated Effort to Prepare Frontline Technicians

Transitioning from work with the 12- and 24-volts electrical systems in traditional diesel and CNG buses to Zero Emissions Buses (ZEBs), with upwards of 800 volts, requires a significant commitment to additional skills training and development. The Transit Workforce Center is producing critical resources as part of a nationally coordinated effort to help prepare frontline technicians with the training needed to meet the challenges and  demands of this new technology. This document summarizes our ZEB resources.

Transit Workforce Center
March 2022
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Providing Training for Zero Emission Buses: Recommended Expanded RFP Language

This document includes recommended language for agencies to build robust training procurement into their ZEB Request for Proposals. It is intended to be used as a starting point for agencies to tailor their training procurement to suit their specific needs.

International Transportation Learning Center & Jobs to Move America
February 2022
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Zero Emission Transit Bus Technology Analysis Volume 2

This report, Volume 2, is the second edition of the Zero Emission Transit Bus Technology Analysis (ZETBTA) which includes results from the fuel-cell electric bus (FCEB), battery electric bus (BEB), diesel hybrid bus, and conventional diesel bus technologies control fleet. It integrates lessons learned and best practices gleaned from AC Transit’s extensive experience in deploying ZEB technologies, including developing innovative workforce training programs, data integration and management, and transit deployment viability.

AC Transit
December 2021
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Electrifying Transit: A Guidebook for Implementing Battery Electric Buses

To assist stakeholders with interest in deploying BEBs, this guidebook describes the decisions and considerations required for successful BEB implementation.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory
April 2021

ASE Transit Bus Tests

ASE initiated this Test Series to identify and recognize those Transit Bus Technicians who demonstrate knowledge of the skills necessary to diagnose, service, and repair various systems on transit buses.

The Official ASE Study Guide for Transit Bus Tests is designed to help technicians prepare for the ASE certification tests.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
January 2021
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Mountain Line Zero-Emission Bus Implementation Plan

The Northern Arizona intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (referred to as Mountain Line) contracted with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) to develop a Zero-Emission Bus (ZEB) Transition Plan to identify a zero-emission roadmap for full-scale deployment.

Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) and AECOM
December 2020
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MTS Zero-Emission Bus Fleet Transition Study

The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) engaged the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) to perform a zero-emission bus (ZEB) transition study in March 2018. The study’s goal is to create a plan for a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2040 to be in compliance with the Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) regulation enacted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The results of the study will be used to inform MTS Board members and educate MTS staff of estimated costs, benefits, constraints, and risks to guide future planning and decision making.

Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), AECOM, & the Fiedler Group
September 2020
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Bus Maintenance and Bus Testing Program Peer-to-Peer Exchange (Report 0160)

This report presents a summary of the bus maintenance worker training peer exchange, hosted by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Significant shifts in the types of transit buses being procured (e.g., from traditional buses to alternative fuel/low- and no-emission buses) require new and different types of frontline worker training. Through the peer exchange, stakeholders, including industry representatives, shared knowledge about bus maintenance worker training and discussed best practices for developing the next generation of highly-skilled bus technicians.

Federal Transit Administration
May 2020
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Behind the Wheel

Behind the Wheel: A case study of Mission College and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Coach Operator Apprenticeship Program, is part of SPR’s evaluation of the California Apprenticeship Initiative. The case study describes the development of the Coach Operator Apprenticeship program including why the partners chose an apprenticeship model to meet their training needs, how the program was developed and structured, and what apprentices and employers report about their experiences in the program. It concludes with a discussion of the program’s sustainability.

Foundation for California Community Colleges & Social Policy Research Associates (SPR)
January 2019
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Bus Maintenance Apprenticeship Framework

The Bus Maintenance Apprenticeship Framework was developed by the National Bus Maintenance Apprenticeship Committee and approved by the U.S. DOL. It is a competency based framework that includes all of the tasks an apprentice should be able to demonstrate as a result of the training. Tasks are based on the ASE task list and APTA training standards. It is only a guide, locations can add or remove tasks to suit their individual operations.

International Transportation Learning Center & The Urban Institute
January 2018
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Transit Coach Operator Competency-Based Framework

Full Competency-Based Occupational Framework for Registered Apprenticeship for Transit Coach Operator/Bus Operators.

The Urban Institute and International Transportation Learning Center
August 2017
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Training Syllabus to Instruct/Prepare for the ASE Transit Bus Electrical/Electronics Test

This Recommended Practice provides guidelines for establishing a standardized bus maintenance training related to the ASE certification program syllabus for the electrical/electronics systems used in transit buses and coaches.

American Public Transportation Association
October 2016

Training Syllabus to Instruct Bus Technicians on Hybrid Drive Systems Operations and Maintenance

This Recommended Practice provides guidelines for establishing a standardized bus maintenance training program related to the theory of operation, maintenance and troubleshooting of bus hybrid drive transmissions and related equipment

American Public Transportation Association
October 2016
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Training Syllabus to Instruct Bus Technicians on Hybrid Drive Systems Operations and Maintenance

This Recommended Practice provides guidelines for establishing a standardized bus maintenance training program related to the theory of operation, aintenance and troubleshooting of bus hybrid drive transmissions and related equipment.

American Public Transportation Association
October 2016
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Training Syllabus to Instruct Bus Technicians on EPA Emissions Standards and Treatment Technologies

This Recommended Practice provides guidelines for establishing a standardized bus maintenance training program related to the maintenance and roubleshooting of bus engine and after treatment components used to achieve applicable EPA emission standards.

American Public Transportation Association
October 2016
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Training Syllabus to Instruct/Prepare for the ASE Transit Bus Diesel Engines Test

This Recommended Practice provides guidelines for establishing a standardized bus maintenance training program related to the ASE certification program syllabus for the diesel engines used in transit buses and coaches.

American Public Transportation Association
October 2016
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Training Syllabus to Instruct/Prepare for the ASE Transit Bus Air Brake Systems Test

This Recommended Practice provides guidelines for establishing a standardized bus maintenance training program related to the ASE certification syllabus for transit bus and coach air brake systems.

American Public Transportation Association
October 2016
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Training Syllabus to Instruct/Prepare for the ASE Transit Bus Electrical/Electronics Test

This Recommended Practice provides guidelines for establishing a standardized bus maintenance training related to the ASE certification program syllabus for the electrical/electronics systems used in transit buses and coaches.

American Public Transportation Association
October 2016
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Training Syllabus to Instruct/Prepare for the ASE Transit Bus HVAC Test

This Recommended Practice provides guidelines for establishing a standardized bus maintenance training related to the ASE certification program syllabus for HVAC systems used in transit buses and coaches.

American Public Transportation Association
October 2016
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Training Syllabus to Instruct/Prepare for the ASE Transit Bus Transmission and Drive Train Test

This Recommended Practice provides guidelines for establishing a standardized bus maintenance training related to the ASE certification program syllabus for transmissions and drivetrains used in transit buses and coaches.

American Public Transportation Association
October 2016
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TCRP Synthesis 120: Use of Automotive Service Excellence Tests Within Transit

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 120: Use of Automotive Service Excellence Tests Within Transit documents how the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) program is accepted and used within the transit bus maintenance community. The ASE program is nationally recognized as the standard industry credential provider for automotive professionals. The report explores how a cross section of transit bus maintenance personnel view the ASE certification program and summarizes their perspectives to improve ASE certification acceptance and participation.

Other ASE-related resources can be found by using the Resource Center’s search function.

Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)
January 2016
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Bus Operator Restroom Use Case Study

In collaboration with the Bus Operator National Joint Training Standards Committee, the International Transportation Learning Center developed this Bus Operator Restroom Use report, a case study and compendium of practitioner resources on restroom use, including a history of restroom use policy at Minneapolis Metro Transit. The resources in this report also include a model community restroom licensing agreement, route-specific restroom locations chart, and example collective bargaining language.

 

International Transportation Learning Center
January 2012
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Addendum to the APTA Recommended Practice for Transit Bus Operator Training

​This addendum was created by the Joint Labor Management National Bus Operator Standards Committee in Seattle, WA on October 12-14th 2011. This addendum was created to be considered for addition into the APTA RP for Transit Bus Operator Training.

The original recommended practice document is also available on the Resource Center, here.

Joint Labor Management National Bus Operator Standards Committee
October 2011
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TCRP Synthesis 93: Practices to Protect Bus Operators from Passenger Assault: A Synthesis of Transit Practice

Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 93: Practices to Protect Bus Operators from Passenger Assault highlights practices and policies implemented by transit agencies to deter and mitigate assaults on bus operators.

Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)
January 2011
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National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards for Bus Maintenance Technicians

​These National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) Apprenticeship Standards have as their objective the training of Bus Maintenance Technicians skilled in all phases of bus maintenance. The NJATC and its affiliated Local Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees recognize that in order to accomplish this, there must be well-developed on-the-job learning combined with related instruction. This recognition has resulted in the development of these Apprenticeship Standards.

Developed by the Transportation Learning Center and National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship.

Approved and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship on 8/25/2010.

International Transportation Learning Center & National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC)
August 2010
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APTA Recommended Practice for Transit Bus Operator Training

​This recommended practice provides guidance for standardized transit operator training to assist in the development of professional bus operators resulting in quality service. Individual operating agencies can modify these guidelines to accommodate their specific training goals and operating modes.

American Public Transportation Association (APTA)
May 2007
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Transit Bus Certification Tests

ASE initiated this Test Series to identify and recognize those Transit Bus Technicians who demonstrate knowledge of the skills necessary to diagnose, service, and repair various systems on transit buses.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
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Transit Apprenticeship at Pierce Transit: From the Ground Up

Pierce Transit is part of a transit apprenticeship initiative and has received technical assistance in structuring their apprenticeship program as well as financial assistance to reimburse some training costs.

International Transportation Learning Center & APTA Passenger Transport
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Battery Electric Bus Familiarization Webinars

The Transportation Learning Center presents three distance-based courses to help transit bus technicians gain fundamental understanding of battery electric bus (BEB) technology. These courses are recorded from live online sessions.

In each  session, experts from various BEB manufacturers presented on specific topics, with over 400 participants attending. Each session is introduced by John Schiavone, who moderated many questions from participants. Please click “Learn More” to view the recorded sessions, slides and presenters’ notes, and sample tests and test answers.

International Transportation Learning Center
RESOURCE TYPE: , , | TRANSIT MODE:

Battery Electric Bus Familiarization Webinars

The Transportation Learning Center presents three distance-based courses to help transit bus technicians gain fundamental understanding of battery electric bus (BEB) technology. These courses are recorded from live online sessions.

In each session, experts from various BEB manufacturers presented on specific topics, with over 400 participants attending. Each session is introduced by John Schiavone, who moderated many questions from participants. Please follow the link below to view the recorded sessions, slides and presenters’ notes, and sample tests and test answers.

International Transportation Learning Center

Training Course – Transit Bus Emissions Control Systems

A three-day course designed to deepen bus technicians’ understanding of the operation and maintenance of transit bus emission control systems.​

Intermountain Transit Career Ladder, Inc.
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National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) – Job Function 1: Fundamental Skills

Matrix of training materials available to members of the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) through other Committee members and from third-party resources. This document refers to JOB FUNCTION 1: FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS of the Center developed, Department of Labor Apprenticeship Framework for Bus Maintenance.

Interested parties should contact the provider of each resource directly. Some resources may not currently be available.

National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee & International Transportation Learning Center
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National Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (NJAT) – Job Function 2: Electrical and Electronic Systems

Matrix of training materials available to members of the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) through other Committee members and from third-party resources. This document refers to JOB FUNCTION 2: Electrical and Electronic Systems of the Center developed, Department of Labor Apprenticeship Framework for Bus Maintenance.

Interested parties should contact the provider of each resource directly. Some resources may not currently be available.

National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee & International Transportation Learning Center
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APTA Emerging Leaders Presentation: Recruiting & Retaining Bus Operators

This slidedeck, from an APTA Emerging Leaders Program presentation, provides an overview of research and transit agency case studies to capture key themes on the topic of bus operator recruitment and retention.

American Public Transportation Association