NCSU Transportation is now hiring students over 21 as casual operators to drive Wolfline buses on campus. Students do not need driving experience to qualify.
According to Byron Bryant, transit manager, the bus operator job is one of the highest paying on-campus jobs with starting pay at $14.25. Students will also be paid for the extensive training required to operate buses.
“The training is probably in the range of around 100 hours,” Bryant said. “The training for a casual operator would be pretty extensive, probably into the four to six-week range for someone who would only have 5-10 hours of availability [per week].”
Roschel Johnson, human resources generalist, said transportation has hired seven students from both NC State and other colleges in the Raleigh area so far.
“I have seen an increase in student hires since I have been here,” Johnson said. “It seems like students are very excited about the opportunity to operate a Wolfline bus, especially for NC State students. They ride the bus so often and are happy they can contribute to the services of the bus.”
NC State has had student drivers in the past, but in 2007, the transportation department switched contractors. The contractor at that time was First Transit, and because of insurance policies, only students 21 and older could drive, according to Bryant.
“That broke our string of hiring students,” Bryant said. “From that point, it has been difficult to get students hired back into the roster.”
Although the same age limitations apply, Bryant said transportation is emphasizing getting student employees back in the system. Bryant said he used to be a student driver while he studied at the university, and it helped him in the workforce.
“We are really interested in tapping into the student population again,” Bryant said. “It is a great opportunity to learn and hone those soft skills that are required in the workforce today. Just being in a working environment is a little different than the academic environment.”
Bryant said drivers with no experience can be better because they can be trained with a fresh start. Already trained drivers bring good and bad experiences. It is harder for drivers to break bad habits they have accumulated over the years.
Transportation has problems with retraining full-time drivers. Bryant discussed the limitations of full-time drivers, saying the department is looking for student drivers who can work in between their classes.
“Full-time drivers like working for the Wolfline; however, we usually lose them to other opportunities that are more consistent year-round,” Bryant said. “You do lose time during the summer or during the breaks, which is nice for some folks, but other folks just look at it as an opportunity that an hourly employee who does not have hours to work.”
Bryant said there are more student job opportunities besides being an operator.
“There are also opportunities to be a dispatcher,” Bryant said. “That is more of an office position, but it is a position that required you to be able to drive the bus. It wouldn’t simply be an opportunity to sit in the office and monitor the buses.”