June 25, 2019 | 71° F

Rutgers bus drivers are chosen through extensive hiring process

The U. currently employees roughly 50 drivers

Photo by Yosef Serkez |

Rutgers busses operate on 15 weekday and three weekend routes. First Transit, the transportation service that runs University bus operations has created the second largest transportation system in New Jersey since 2011.

University buses are a crucial component of life on campus for students and faculty. First Transit, the private transportation company that provides Rutgers with buses, explained their hiring process. 

Bus drivers are employed through First Transit,  a company that provides buses for 242 different locations in the United States, many of which are universities like Rutgers, said Jay Brock, the spokesperson for First Transit. Rutgers currently has about 50 bus drivers who operate 15-weekday routes and three-weekend routes.  

Bus drivers are not University employees, as all of their operations are done through First Transit.

First Transit has been running the bus operation at Rutgers since the summer of 2011, creating the second largest public transportation in the state of New Jersey, next to NJ Transit. 

Brock said that the company does handle most of the hiring process for bus drivers, one of the many benefits of outsourcing. 

Because of Rutgers' partnership with First Transit, the company will take any feedback from the University into account when deciding on who to hire, Brock said. 

“If they have a point of view or something like that we are happy to consider that,” Brock said. “We do that for all of our contracts, it’s never one-sided.”

Brock said that they look for desire and excitement when hiring new bus drivers, as they are eager to match drivers with the college atmosphere they will be working in, as well as the other colleges they operate across the country. 

Brock added that experience is not completely necessary for those who want to operate a bus. They always provide service and training to anyone who wishes to work as a driver.

“We do about 50 to 60 hours of on-road and in classroom training and we will also help you get any sort of licensing that is required from the state to drive a bus. We are happy to do all of that,” Brock said.

The job of a Rutgers bus driver is a full-time position which includes benefits, such as medical insurance and a 401k. At other schools, First Transit has hired students to drive buses either full-time or even part-time depending on their class schedules.

Brock said that the position is not meant to be a small job for college students to pick up some extra money. Student bus drivers are required to meet the same criteria as other full-time employees, such as age, a proper background check, motor vehicle history and other tests before they can operate as a driver.

“It’s not just a matter of a student walking up and saying ‘Hey man, I want to drive a bus for some spare cash’ it's not quite that easy,” Brock said. “You can’t just jump on a bus and start driving around. That's not what we do, and that does not happen at any of our colleges that we provide for.”

First Transit looks only for the best when it comes to hiring bus drivers at a university. American colleges have been some of their largest and most loyal customers, and Rutgers is a great school that deserves bus drivers who are driven and focused on their jobs, Brock said. 

“The college market is huge for us,” Brock said. “I think that these young people especially deserve the best from all of us, and if we can give them the best bus drivers we can, the ones who will get them to class on time, then we are more than happy to do so.” 

Jacob Turchi

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