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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A nationwide shortage of commercial bus operators is also being felt in Memphis, so the Memphis Area Transit Authority is offering a $3,000 bonus to attract 100 new drivers.

“The number of bus operators continues to be a challenge as people grow older, they retire, they go on to other jobs and such. So, we have instituted these incentive programs to try and get the applicant flow up and get the number of hires up as well,” said MATA CEO Gary Rosenfeld.

Rosenfeld is eager to hear from people already licensed, and people coming into the program to get licensed.

That amount sounds very appealing to MATA bus rider Ricky Nelson. 

“That’s a pretty good incentive to make you want to join. It makes me want to join,” he said.

MATA is about 30 drivers short now but plans to add more service in the fall and early part of 2022, including expanded service on the weekends.

That’s good news for Nelson. 

“I think it’s a wonderful thing if they hire more drivers, because sometimes it take forever for the bus to arrive,” he said.

That’s why MATA is anxious for people, experienced or not, to apply now.

“When we are short bus operators, it affects service, and when it affects service then unfortunately our customers suffer. So we very much want to solve this problem,” Rosenfeld said.

A MATA bus operator with a couple years experience can make up to $24 an hour. There are openings for bus operators on fixed routes, trolley routes and MATA’s “plus” bus service.

Click here to apply on MATA’s website.