Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is offering new drivers up to $3,500 in sign-on bonuses through September 30.
The breakdown of the bonus for drivers with a Commercial Driver License (CDL) includes $1,000 disbursed after successful completion of training, another $1,000 disbursed after completing a six-month probationary period, and $1,500 disbursed 12 months after probation ends (18 months).
Drivers without a CDL but with an active Commercial Learner Permit (CLP) will receive a bonus of up to $1,800 upon hiring. They will receive $400 after training, another $400 after completing a six-month probationary period, and $1,000 after 12 months have passed since the probation period (18 months).
Prospective bus drivers who live outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth region (150 miles or more) will be eligible for a relocation stipend of $1,500, which will be paid after their first pay period.
DART, which is primarily funded by property taxes collected from the communities it serves, offers starting pay at $21.13 per hour and traditional medical and retirement benefits. They also provide free rides on DART, TRE, and DCTA systems for employees and one designated dependent.
Bonuses and benefits are not limited to new hires. Existing DART bus operators are eligible for both retention bonuses and division-level bonuses.
Division-level bonuses are based on performance goals, including attendance, safety, on-time, and customer service metrics.
DART currently has 1,100 bus operators providing service to riders around Dallas County, with another 54 in training for a total of 1,154. However, DART is working aggressively to recruit approximately 160 new bus operators.
Like other public transit systems and companies across the country, DART is experiencing significant challenges in attracting and retaining the workforce needed to meet the demands for bus service, according to Gordon Shattles, DART’s director of external relations.
“As labor market conditions remain extremely competitive for [CDL] drivers, DART is dealing with the same problem of hiring new operators that other transit agencies — and companies in general — are facing across the country,” Shattles said in an email to The Dallas Express.
“It is vitally important that we have sufficient bus operators to ensure that the residents of North Texas who rely on DART to get to work, school, medical facilities, shopping, and back home to family and friends, have the service that they need.”