Gov. Phil Murphy recently met with NJ TRANSIT employees training to become new train conductors, locomotive engineers, and bus operators at the Ferry St. training facility in Newark.
“Replenishing NJ TRANSIT’s workforce is a critical component of improving the customer experience for the nearly one million New Jerseyans who rely on NJ TRANSIT every day,” said Governor Murphy. “Investing in hundreds of newly trained locomotive engineers and bus operators represent our commitment to improving safety, service, and reliability for New Jersey commuters and will put NJ TRANSIT on a positive path moving forward.”
“Having the proper staff to operate the trains and buses is critical to delivering the services that customers expect and deserve,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “This was an area we identified early in this Administration and began taking immediate steps to rectify.”
“The greatest strength of NJ TRANSIT is our extraordinary workforce,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Kevin Corbett. “By filling these critical positions, we continue moving NJ TRANSIT back to its status of national prominence with a keen focus on an improved customer experience.”
In 2018, NJ TRANSIT launched a major marketing and recruitment effort to fill critical positions in the agency, particularly locomotive engineers and bus operators. More than 4,000 applications were received for locomotive engineering positions with 102 trainees hired. For the first time in their history, NJ TRANSIT has six locomotive training classes running concurrently. Five of those classes began in 2018 and one began in 2017.
In further support of this workforce replenishment effort, NJ TRANSIT debuted its new accelerated locomotive engineer training class in October 2018 with 14 assistant conductors learning to become engineers. The accelerated program leverages the existing railroad knowledge that the assistant conductors have to reduce their training time from 20 months to approximately 12 months. The program fulfills the agency’s commitment to streamlining the locomotive engineer training process, while still ensuring compliance with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements.
Throughout 2018, NJ TRANSIT held open houses to test bus operator candidates on the spot and make tentative offers. As an incentive, a $6,000 sign-on bonus was offered to any applicant already possessing a CDL A or B license with a passenger endorsement and air brakes. NJ TRANSIT hired 386 new bus operators after more than 8,000 applicants expressed interest.
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