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Becoming a Bus Operator

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Becoming a Bus Operator

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Become a Bus Operator and Drive Towards Your Dream Job!

Bus Operators earn $25.82/hour after training and can potentially make up to $36.89/hour after four years. Employee monthly contribution for medical, dental, and vision is a flat rate of $120 with unlimited number of qualified dependents.

As a Bus Operator representing the District, you are the face of AC Transit. For this reason, we seek customer service and safety-oriented candidates.  Start your career with us and you would become part of an extended family of individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the community.

Previous Bus Operator or commercial driving experience is not required. We will provide a paid training program consisting of both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. This is an excellent opportunity to learn transit from the ground up.  

AC Transit has excellent compensation and benefits package.  Read below to find out how you can become a Bus Operator for AC Transit.

$2,000 Bonus*

Hiring Bonuses for New Bus Operators (NBO): 

NBOs hired after 10/1/22 are eligible to receive up to $2,000 within the first 12 months of employment as follows: 

  • $500 upon graduation from the AC Transit Training & Education Center. 
  • $500 upon completion of 3 months driving after graduation from new bus operator training classes 
  • $1,000 upon completion of 12 months employment from date of hire 


New Bus Operators who meet certain criteria will be eligible for the hiring bonus. Each payment is separate, and it is not guaranteed. The District reserves the right to not payout due to financial or disciplinary reasons. Additional requirements regarding payout and eligibility may apply.

Hourly Pay Rates

StepBase Hourly RateExplanation
1$23.70Training Rate
2$25.82NHP -70% of Step 7
3$27.67 NHP -75% of Step 7
4$29.51 NHP -80% of Step 7
5$31.36 NHP -85% of Step 7
6$33.20 NHP -90% of Step 7
7$36.89Top Wage

Employee Benefits

  • Employee monthly contribution for medical, dental, and vision is a flat rate of $120 with unlimited number of qualified dependents
  • Pension plan with an 5-year vesting
  • Up to 6 weeks of vacation depending on length of service
  • Sick leave
  • 11 holidays per year
  • Free transportation on the AC Transit system
  • Group Life Insurance

Ready to Apply?

Step 1: Minimum Requirements

  1. Must be 21 years of age.
  2. Must be available to work nights, weekends, holidays, and all shifts.
  3. Must have three (3) continuous years of licensed vehicle driving experience (commercial driving experience is NOT required)
  4. No more than one (1) moving violation in the past three (3) years.
  5. No At-Fault accidents in the past three (3) years.
  6. No “Failures to Appear” or “Failures to Pay” in the last three (3) years.
  7. No suspensions in the last three (3) years.
  8. No Reckless Driving (23103) or driving under the influence (DUI – 23152) in the last seven (7) years.
  9. No pattern of irresponsible driving or irresponsibility related to driving.
  10. Other violations and/or accidents will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may be cause for non-selection.
  11. Must be able to obtain, at your own expense, a CA Class B learner’s permit with both Passenger (P) and Air Brake endorsements.  (You do not need a Class B license or permit to apply for this position).
  12. Must pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination, including drug and alcohol screening tests.
  13. Must pass criminal background check with the Department of Justice. All eligible candidates will be fingerprinted and screened for criminal history.

Step 2: Physical Requirements

For Driving by Federal regulations:

  1. Have vision at or correctable to 20/40 (Snellen), a field of vision of at least 70 degrees in the horizontal meridian in both eyes, and recognize the colors red, green, and amber
  2. Possess hearing in at least one ear allowing the perception of a whispered voice at five (5) feet;
  3. Not currently have a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus requiring insulin for control, epilepsy or similar, myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary insufficiency, thrombosis, or any other cardiovascular disease of a variety known to be accompanied by syncope, dyspnea, collapse, or congestive cardiac failure
  4. Have no loss of a foot, leg, hand, or arm, and be able to bend and control all of said limbs in order to grasp or push and otherwise operate all driving controls in an skillful manner without prostheses.

By District standards:

  1. Ability to sit without discomfort for prolonged periods of time on a variety of driver’s seats in different models of buses, and fit behind the steering wheel with clearance between abdomen and wheel
  2. Turn head up to 180 degrees in either direction on a regular and frequent basis
  3. Walk to enter and exit the vehicle.

For Wheel Chair Tie-Downs: 

  1. Ability to bend, crouch, and/or kneel and balance while simultaneously manipulating and fastening tie-down straps.

Step 3: In Person Interview

After an initial screening of applications for minimum qualifications, the best qualified applicants will be invited to the various divisions (GO-Downtown Oakland, Hayward, Emeryville, East Oakland, or Richmond) for an in-person interview. Failure to pass the in-person interview will result in disqualification.

Step 4: Review of DMV Driving Record (K4)

Candidates who successfully pass the in-person interview will be notified by email to submit a current DMV K4 driving record from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. If the candidate has been out of California for all or part of the past ten years, a 10-year DMV printout from the applicable state/country must be submitted. (Note: The printout must be dated within 30 days of the request).

If the DMV printout indicates accident(s) in the past three years, the applicant must provide an insurance report or police report showing that the applicant did not contribute to the cause of the accident. Failure to submit your DMV printout in the designated timeframe will result in disqualification.

Step 5: Fingerprinting and Background Check

Eligible candidates will be required to be fingerprinted and complete a Conviction History form. Failure to disclose pertinent criminal background information or providing incorrect or false information is considered falsification, and results in disqualification. A conviction is not necessarily a bar from employment.  Each case is given individual consideration on a case-by-case basis.

Step 6: Physical Exam, Drug and Alcohol Screening

Candidates will be required to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination, including drug and alcohol screening tests. (Examination and tests are paid for by the District) Failure to successfully pass the exam and screening tests will result in disqualification.

Step 7: License/Permit

Candidates will be required to obtain, at your own expense, a Class B commercial learner’s permit with both Passenger (P) and Air Brake Endorsements prior to starting the Bus Operator training program.  The nine (9) week paid training program will include both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction.  Failure to obtain the required permit and endorsements will result in disqualification.

Step 8: Employment Verification

Candidates will be required to provide two (2) professional references.  One of the references must be from a current or former supervisor.  Failure to submit your references during the specified time period will result in disqualification.

Step 9: Bus Operator fully paid Training Program 

Upon hire, new Bus Operators will begin their employment by attending a comprehensive Operator training program. All employees must successfully complete the entire Operator training program consisting of both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. Failure to complete the training program will result in termination.

How to Apply

Applications are accepted online.  Click here to apply for AC Transit Career Opportunities.