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RTD showcases safety shield in hopes of attracting bus driver applicants

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Posted at 5:38 PM, Mar 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-28 19:38:16-04

DENVER — The Regional Transportation District (RTD) showcased new safety shields at its job fair Thursday in hopes of attracting bus driver applicants.

RTD's 142 new buses feature the shield, and shields were installed in an additional 128 older buses. The shields can be opened and closed depending on the driver's comfort.

"It's a reinforced safety glass with steel, adding that extra protection against anything that could be thrown," said RTD Communications Officer Tina Jaquez.

Jaquez said the plan is for 250 RTD buses to be retrofitted with the shield by the end of June.

"It's very well constructed and I think it'll have a definite impact going forward," said Ronald Short, a union officer and RTD bus driver.

Short has represented bus drivers at ATU Local 1001 for four years and is a veteran bus driver of 24 years. Although encouraged by the shield, he said recruitment efforts have to focus on retention, since many drivers leave after a short stint.

“RTD is facing a manpower shortage — and not just operators but across the board," said Short. "There hasn't been a problem to get them to come in, it's getting them to stay.”

To sweeten the deal, RTD is also offering a $4,000 sign-on bonus and commercial driver's license (CDL) training.

“If you don't have a CDL, that's fine. Go ahead and apply. We'll help you go through the process to get a CDL," said Jaquez.

Thursday's job fair included full-time and part-time positions, and drivers could be hired on the spot. Jaquez said the district has 100 openings.

Those who couldn't attend the job fair can apply for positions online. Fifty people filed applications at Thursday's career event.

RTD trains to begin training between April 15 and April 20, with pay rates beginning at $25.96 per hour.

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