Public transit providers across North America face a shortage of operators and mechanics, a crisis that has strained budgets and forced agencies to reduce service. This shortage is occurring during a period of economic instability and reshuffling exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Agencies’ ability to respond to the worker shortage has been hampered by inadequate information about its causes and effects. The Transit Workforce Shortage Study builds a framework for APTA, its members, and its partner organizations to better understand the workforce shortage’s causes and provides best practices for recruiting, hiring, and retaining transit operations workers.
The shortage is the product of multiple interlocking causes and successfully responding to it will involve a comprehensive approach. Agencies will need to attract younger workers by improving working conditions, providing competitive compensation, and creating a pathway for workers to grow and advance in their careers. They will need to improve workplace culture, which will involve ensuring agency leadership is responsive to and representative of workers. Additionally, agencies’ efforts will need to be matched with advocacy and regulatory reform to ease the barriers to hiring transit workers.