Public transport

USA: The American Public Transportation Association has released the first of six workforce development guides designed to help operators address critical workforce shortages across the sector.

These will provide best practices, case studies and insights on:

  • advancing awareness of transit careers;
  • creating internships and apprenticeships;
  • recruiting and hiring transit workers;
  • serving the underserved in the workforce;
  • onboarding, training and retaining workers;
  • building a transit curriculum.

An October 2022 survey by APTA found that there is a widespread and severe shortage of public transport workers, with 96% of operators and agencies reporting a shortage and 84% saying this affects their ability to provide services.

The sector’s workforce is ageing, and will experience a high retirement rate for the foreseeable future.

Transport agencies face intense competition for workers, with applicants rejecting employment offers 35% of the time, more than twice the rate for jobs across all industries. More departing employees leave to take jobs outside the sector than those who retire or leave the workforce combined.

Concerns about work schedules and pay were responsible for more departures than assault and harassment or concern about contracting Covid-19.

Meanwhile, rules about drug and alcohol testing, driving licence requirements, criminal background checks and driving records extend the recruitment process and exclude otherwise qualified applicants.

‘APTA recognises the impact the worker shortage crisis is having on our industry and has been working diligently to provide resources to help transit leaders create effective strategies to attract, retain and develop a skilled workforce’, said President & CEO Paul P Skoutelas on April 12.

‘We are excited to publish these new guides and provide new tools, approaches and partnerships to help our members build a new generation of the transit workforce.’