CHICAGO - The CTA held a job fair at Malcolm X College Friday morning.
The city's transit authority plans to fill 650 positions for bus operators and mechanics, and they say thousands have applied.
CTA President Dorval Carter says the key to improving service on the CTA is more employees. There has been a shortage since the pandemic. The agency hopes to fill 30 positions every two weeks to bring staffing up to normal levels.
Candidates got to hear from CTA employees talk about the jobs, benefits and increased wages. A full time driver can make $28.42 per hour, while a mechanic can make $39.42 per hour.
There is also a $1,000 signing bonus. Candidates say that kind of job can help them chart a career.
Trevell Billings landed an interview to become a bus operator. He says the job is suited to him.
"I can like, relate to people from all walks of life. I was enthused about finding a position where I can see areas around Chicago that most don’t see. And I like to drive and meet people," Billings said.
Amber Scott’s uncle retired from the CTA. She says that generational example influenced her, and she wants to drive a bus.
"I love driving. You hear people say that they hate driving, but I like driving," Scott said.
Tom McKone, CTA Chief Administrative Officer, says candidates are drawn to the public service aspect of the job.
"This is really a chance to serve the community, to provide service to our region," McKone said.
The CTA pays people to train as drivers and mechanics. A new bus operator could be on the road in as little as 30 days.