Drive With Us

Become a Bus Operator at SamTrans

When deciding your future career path, have you ever considered becoming a Bus Operator? Make a difference in your community! Being a Bus Operator has a variety of rewarding benefits, exciting opportunities, and so much more. Other career paths take years of training, endless loans, and potentially attending a college or university.

If you are an independent self-starter who likes working with people, consider choosing a career as a Bus Operator at SamTrans. Bus Operators transport people to a variety of locations in our communities, including work, school and recreational activities. Transit bus driving can involve working in the early mornings, late at night or on weekends, allowing Bus Operators substantial time off during regular workday hours.

Previous Bus Operator or commercial driving experience is not required. We will provide an eight (6) week paid training program consisting of both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. This is an excellent opportunity to learn transit from the ground up.

SamTrans has an excellent compensation and benefits package.  Read below to find out how you can become a Bus Operator for SamTrans and make a difference in your community!

Bus Operator Duties

  • Safely operate a variety of transit vehicles to transport passengers along fixed-routes
  • Perform safety inspections and report equipment defects
  • Collect fares, announce stops and provide general information to the riding public
  • Follow maps, timetables and notices

Minimum Qualifications

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • One year of fulltime customer service or public contact experience
  • Must have a valid Class “C” California Driver’s License with two (2) years of continuous good driving record
  • Must be able to obtain and present a Class “B” Commercial Learner’s Permit with both Passengers and Air Brake Endorsements at time of New Hire Orientation

Hiring Process

1. Minimum Qualification Screening and Written Multi-Choice Exam
2. In-Person Interview and review of DMV driving record (K-4)
3. Background Investigation including employment and criminal records
4. DOT required Physical exam, drug and alcohol screening
5. Obtain Class B commercial learner’s permit with Passenger and Air Brake at time of Orientation
6. Paid training program of up to 6 weeks (curriculum includes Driving Skills to obtain Commercial B Driver’s License and SamTrans’ policies and procedures)

Q.  What is the hourly rate for Bus Operator Trainee?
A. The training rate is $25.00 per hour; up to 6-weeks. You receive an increase to $27.06/hourly (Step 1) at the successful completion of the training. Step increases are scheduled every six months until you reached 31st month of employment date at the hourly rate of $36.07 (Step 6).

Q. How can I apply for the Bus Operator job?
A.  You can apply online at   

Q. Who can I contact if I have problems when I am applying?
A. Please contact the Human Resources team by emailing your question to or call at 650-508-6308. Our normal business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays.

Q.  I applied online.  What happens next?
A.  You will receive an automated confirmation after the successful submission of your online application.  Please ensure that you check your inbox or spam for the confirmation email. All correspondences will be transmitted using email.

Q.  What are some reasons I might be rejected/disqualified during the selection process?  
A.  As with any other career opportunity, our goal is to hire and retain the most qualified candidate. You may be disqualified or rejected for reasons below:

  • Your DMV record may not meet District safe driving standards
  • If you have more than 3 moving violations in the last 5 years
  • If you have an at-fault accident in the last 5 years
  • If you have a “Failure to Appear” or “Failure to Pay” (FTA or FTP) or a Suspension in the last 3 years
  • If you have violations such as reckless driving or DUI within the last 7 years
  • If your DMV record shows a pattern of irresponsible driving or repeat offenses, even if violations do not fall within the automatically disqualifying time limit
  • You may not meet other minimum qualifications specified in the job announcement

You will be notified by a Human Resources staff member on your status, regardless if you meet the minimum qualifications or if you are eligible to move on to the next step. 

Q.  If I am rejected, when can I re-apply?
A. Once you’re rejected, you must wait a minimum of six (6) months before re-applying for the same position. If you do re-apply within this 6 month period, your application will not be considered.

Q. What are the next steps after the Written Assessment?
A. You must receive a high enough assessment score determined by the Human Resource department to be eligible to be invited to the Expedited Process.  

Q. What to bring to the next step? 
A.  Await for an invitation via email and bring your K4 (10-year driving record on the date of the event).  The K4 has to be within the last 30 days.   

Q. What is expected at the Expedited Process? 
A.  Review of the your K4 (10-year) driving record from the DMV to determine if you meet the “Good Driving” record standard set by SamTrans.  You may be disqualified or rejected for one of several reasons:

Your DMV record may not meet District driving standards

  • If you have more than 3 moving violation in the last 5 years
  • If you have an at-fault accident in the last 5 years
  • If you have violations such as reckless driving or DUI within the last 7 years
  • If your DMV record shows a pattern of irresponsible driving or repeat offenses, even if violations do not fall within the automatically disqualifying time limit

Panel Interview

  • Scheduled for a 20 minutes oral interview with a panel consisting of three individuals
  • Assess your oral communication skills and other required competencies deemed critical to be a high quality Bus Operator for the District

Seat Test

  • Assessment of physical condition in two different size buses to determine your ability to operate the vehicles and equipment.

Q.  What is the Pre-Employment Process/Conditional Job Offer?
A.  Upon receiving a satisfactory result from the selection process, you will proceed to the Conditional Job Offer phase.  During this phase, you will be undergoing the following steps:

  • Criminal background investigation
  • Education and Employment reference check
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)  required a physical assessment with Drug & Alcohol screening from a designated Medical Clinic
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) history check
  • License/Permit – You must obtain your Class B permit with Passenger & Airbrake endorsements; if you have a class A license, you must obtain a Passenger endorsement at the time of your assigned New Employee Orientation date.


Q.  Are benefits offered with this position?
A.  Yes.  Benefits include medical, dental, vision, CalPers pension plan, Long term disability, life insurance, tuition reimbursement, employee assistant program, credit union, flexible benefits plan and free bus transportation for you and your family.  (More benefit details may be found on and click on the “Benefits” link.

Q. Do you provide special arrangements for persons with disabilities?
A. SamTrans Human Resources Department provides reasonable accommodation when applying for a position and/or for the testing process to eligible individuals requesting assistance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Please contact Human Resources at 650-508-6308 if you require assistance. The Human Resources Department's normal business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays.

Q. Does SamTrans require drug testing for a professional bus operator? 
A. All applicants for positions defined as “safety sensitive” are required to pass a drug test prior to employment and, subsequent to commencement of employment, will be subject to random, post-accident, and reasonable suspicion testing.

Q. I already have a Commercial B (or Class A) license. Do I have the right license to drive a SamTrans’ bus?
A. Not necessarily. Look at the front of your Class B or A license. Make sure you have a “P” (Passenger) endorsement. Then look at the back of your license. If you have a “48″ restriction, you are restricted to vehicles without Airbrakes and you must get the restriction taken off. If you have a “74″, “75″, or “76″ restriction, you must obtain a new permit for Class B with Passenger and Airbrake endorsements (even if you already have a B/P license). If your license has only a “64″ restriction, you are OK, since all our vehicles have automatic transmission.
Please be advised that if your license has not been issued within the last 12 months and you need to remove any restriction or add an endorsement, you may have to take all parts of the CDL Permit exam again (General Knowledge, Passenger, Airbrakes etc. – please consult the Commercial Driver Handbook for requirements).

Q. How long is Bus Operator Training Class?  
A. Bus Operator training is six weeks, 40 hours per week.  
Q.  What should I expect on my first day of training?
A.  You must provide your Commercial B Permit with the Air Brakes and Passenger endorsements and Medical Certification to the Transit Instructor.  Without possessing the proper driving documents, you will not be allowed to continue employment with SamTrans.
      Attendance is also critical during Training and Probationary Period.  You are expected be prompted, be present and maintain a 100% attendance record.  Tardy or missed time from work will prevent you from being successful during the training/while employed.


Q.  What happens after training is complete?
A. After training, Operators go into service alone and are placed on a 90 day probationary period. They will be ride checked, evaluated on such things as attendance, miss outs, consumer reports, ability to understand their daily schedules and safely operate the vehicle to District Standards.

Q. Will I be able to choose my route and schedule?
A. As a new hire, you will have low seniority, so your choice will be based on what is available and may not be a route and/or schedule you prefer. This will change as you gain seniority. Routes are chosen at sign-ups three times a year.

Q. What is ‘seniority’?
A. Seniority means the length of time you have been employed at SamTrans. Those who have been with SamTrans’ longer will have seniority over those were hired at a later date. Run and shift assignment sign-ups are done by seniority, which means that those with higher seniority will get to pick their runs before those that have lower seniority. As a new Operator with the lowest seniority, you will likely have limited choices in the route or shift that you will be working.

Q.  Will SamTrans provide me with a uniform?
A.  The District shall, upon initial hire, supply each Bus Operator with an initial set of uniforms consistent with District standards.  Thereafter, a uniform allowance will be provided by a credit or voucher system.  The credit or voucher will be given to the employee effective January 1st of each year in the amount of $500 (per CBA).

Q. What kind of shifts will I be required to work?
A. You may have to work at any time during the day or night, on weekends, and on major holidays. Our first shift starts as early as 0400 hours.  Most shift ends at Midnight.

Q. Which Location will I be assigned to?
A. You will be assigned to the either the North Base (South San Francisco) or South Base (San Carlos), wherever the need is greater. As you gain seniority, however, it is possible to be reassigned to the location that you request. 

Q.  Will I receive Paid Time Off (PTO)?
A.  Employees shall earn and accumulate Paid-Time-Off (PTO) at the rate of 6.5 hours per biweekly pay period of paid employment up to a maximum accumulation of 100 days.  PTO increases at your five (5)years, fifteen (15) years and twenty-five (25) years of continuous service. 

SamTrans is an equal opportunity employer. 

San Mateo County Transit District offers a generous benefits package including health, life, disability insurance and retirement plans to you and your family.

Salary Schedule for Bus Operator

 ATU1   Step   Eff. 2/2022 
 Bus Operator Trainee      $25.00
 Completion of Training thru 6th month   1   $27.06
 Beginning 7th month thru 12th month   2   $28.86 
 Beginning 13th month thru 18th month    3  $30.66
 Beginning 19th month thru 24th month   4  $32.46
 Beginning 25th month thru 30th month   5   $34.27
 Beginning 31st month   6   $36.07


Retirement and Pension Plan


Our employees are eligible for both Social Security Benefits and CalPERS Pension Plan. Including lifetime medical benefits upon retirement.

California Public Employees Retirement Systems (CalPERS)

  • Classic Members – 2% @ 60 benefit formula, 3 year average of highest compensation
  • New Members – 2% @ 62 benefit formula, 3 year average of highest compensation

Cafeteria Health Plans
District paid 100% coverage for Employee’s Dental, Vision and Life insurance.

  • Medical Plans (Selection include Anthem, Blue Shield, HealthNet Smart, Kaiser, PERS

Choice PPO and PERS Select PPO

  • Dental Care (Delta Dental)
  • Vision Care (VSP)
  • Life Insurance (Group Life Insurance and Optional Life Insurance)
  • Long Term Disability
  • State Disability
  • Workers Compensation

Additional Fringe Benefits

  • 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (Nationwide and ICRMA)
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (eligible Health and Dependent Care Expenses)
  • Education Assistance and Tuition Reimbursement Programs (College Education and Professional Training/Certifications)
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Computer Purchase Loan Program
  • Credit Union (San Mateo Credit Union)

Holidays and Paid-Time-Off (PTO)

  • District recognized Holidays (7)
  • Up to (5) Floating Holidays
  • Up to (21) days of accrued PTO per Collective Bargaining Agreement