Denver RTD extends bus operator training program to 12 weeks

May 10, 2024
The additional three weeks of the program provides bus operators with more hands-on training across all divisions, including route familiarization and night driving.

The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) held its inaugural 12-week bus operator training, with six operators graduating at the end of March. The training program was previously nine weeks in length The agency says the additional three weeks provide bus operators with more hands-on training across all divisions, including route familiarization and night driving. The training aims to familiarize students with protocols, procedures and equipment, ensuring that operators are well trained, safe and prepared to navigate the roads. 

"The training covers customer service skills, de-escalation techniques, knowledge of the fare system and schedules. Students learn how to navigate our various routes, applying what they learn in real-world scenarios to build confidence and enhance system efficiency,” said Denver RTD’s Assistant Manager of Bus Operator Training Corey Inman, who began his career at Denver RTD as a bus operator and has been with the agency for 11 years. 

"During each week at the division, students actually operate routes within that division. They operate between scheduled buses, picking up passengers along the way. This hands-on experience over three weeks prepares them for revenue service, so they already have a solid understanding of what to expect when they begin. They gain familiarity with the flow of operations and accumulate more practice in picking up and interacting with customers, thus improving their readiness for the job," said Ike Veiga, a bus operating training instructor and bus operator. 

Marissa Holmes and Mac Wortham are recent graduates from the 12-week training program. Holmes expresses her excitement about embarking on a new career path, seeking something different and expressing her desire to drive the Evergreen-Denver route. On the other hand, Wortham notes his interest in taking on the Boulder route, emphasizing Denver RTD’s excellent benefits.  

"This is one job where you are actually compensated for your efforts. The more you invest in your career, the more opportunities become available. You just need to be committed to your career," Wortham said.    

Candidates hired as bus operators receive a $4,000 signing bonus, paid training—including commercial driver’s license training—and guidance through the permit process. Bus operators start at $25.96 per hour and qualified candidates must possess a domestic driver’s license valid for at least two years. Denver RTD says the bus operator role offers individuals a career path to retire from or pursue as a second career and fulfills a crucial service for the community and aligns with the agency’s mission of enhancing lives through connection.