A compensation survey of North Carolina transit systems was conducted in August 2021 to assist the NCDOT Integrated Mobility Division in understanding current transit operators salaries and benefits across the state and how they relate to operator (driver) vacancies.
The survey was distributed to all North Carolina transit agencies to understand vacancy rates, pay rates, benefits and other strategies for recruiting and retaining employees. Based on the survey responses submitted by 71 transit agencies, operator vacancy rates average 20% statewide, meaning one out of every five operator positions is unfilled. Eight transit agencies reported operator vacancy rates of 50% or higher. The challenges are statewide but are more pronounced in rural areas and for smaller transit systems, measured by the number of vehicles.
Analysis of operator vacancy rates, based on the many variables collected through the survey responses and supplemented with transit agency characteristics, identified the following findings:
Higher pay leads to lower vacancies – Transit systems with higher minimum pay rates have lower vacancy rates.
Reliable hours and pay attracts workers – Transit systems with a higher percentage of full-time drivers and/or more generous overtime policies have lower vacancy rates.
Workers want training, health benefits, and a quality work environment – Transit systems which offer healthcare benefits, offer CDL training, and that foster a quality working environment have lower vacancy rates.
Blended services can create more opportunities – Transit systems which blend purchased and directly operated transportation services have lower average vacancy rates.
The below documents include findings and analysis from the survey along with considerations and general recommendations.