Getting a job as a bus driver for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City can provide a stable career with good benefits. The MTA operates public buses all throughout the five boroughs of NYC and employs over 15,000 bus operators.

If you’re interested in working for the MTA, here are the main steps you’ll need to take to become a bus driver.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: To become an MTA bus driver, you need to be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, pass a drug test and background check, complete a training course, and get a CDL license with passenger endorsement.

Meet the Basic Requirements

Be at least 21 years old

To become an MTA bus driver, one of the primary requirements is being at least 21 years old. This age restriction ensures that applicants have gained enough driving experience and maturity to handle the responsibilities of driving a bus.

It also ensures that the driver meets the legal age requirement for operating commercial vehicles.

Have a valid driver’s license

Another important requirement is having a valid driver’s license. MTA bus drivers are responsible for safely transporting passengers, so a valid driver’s license is essential. This license should be issued by the state in which you reside and should be free from any suspensions, revocations, or major traffic violations.

Additionally, it’s crucial to have a clean driving record to demonstrate your ability to follow traffic laws and maintain a safe driving history.

Be legally eligible to work in the United States

Being legally eligible to work in the United States is a prerequisite for becoming an MTA bus driver. This requirement ensures that the driver meets the necessary immigration and employment regulations set by the government.

It’s essential to have the appropriate work authorization documents, such as a valid Social Security number or Employment Authorization Document (EAD), to demonstrate your eligibility to work.

Pass the Initial Screening Process

Before becoming an MTA bus driver, candidates must pass the initial screening process. This process ensures that only qualified individuals are selected for the position. The screening process consists of several steps, including:

Take a drug test

As part of the initial screening process, candidates are required to take a drug test. This is to ensure that all MTA bus drivers are free from substance abuse, which is crucial for the safety of passengers and other road users.

Drug tests are conducted to detect the presence of illegal drugs or controlled substances. Candidates who test positive may be disqualified from further consideration.

Pass a criminal background check

Another important step in the initial screening process is the criminal background check. MTA bus drivers are responsible for the safety and well-being of their passengers, so it is essential to ensure that they have a clean record.

The background check is conducted to identify any criminal convictions or charges that may disqualify a candidate from becoming a bus driver. This helps maintain the integrity and trustworthiness of the MTA workforce.

Get cleared by a medical review

MTA bus drivers need to be physically fit and in good health to perform their duties effectively. Therefore, candidates must undergo a medical review to assess their overall health and fitness for the job.

The medical review may include a physical examination, vision and hearing tests, and evaluation of any pre-existing medical conditions. This ensures that candidates can meet the physical demands of operating a bus safely.

It is important to note that the specific requirements and procedures for the initial screening process may vary depending on the location and policies of the MTA. It is recommended to visit the MTA’s official website for detailed information on the screening process in your area.

Complete Bus Driver Training

Take a CDL permit test

In order to become an MTA bus driver, the first step is to take a CDL permit test. This test assesses your knowledge of the rules and regulations of operating a commercial vehicle. It covers topics such as vehicle inspection, driving techniques, and traffic laws.

It is important to study and prepare for this test to ensure success. There are various resources available online, such as practice tests and study guides, to help you prepare for the CDL permit test.

Complete a 6-8 week training course

After passing the CDL permit test, the next step is to complete a comprehensive training course. This training course typically lasts for 6-8 weeks and covers various aspects of bus driving, including safety procedures, passenger management, and defensive driving techniques.

It is important to pay attention during the training and actively participate in practical exercises to gain hands-on experience. The training course will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to become a competent and responsible bus driver.

Pass the CDL road test

Once you have completed the training course, you will need to pass the CDL road test. This test evaluates your ability to operate a bus safely and effectively in real-world driving situations. It includes tasks such as parallel parking, lane changes, and navigating through traffic.

It is essential to practice and refine your driving skills before taking the road test. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the specific requirements and expectations of the road test in your area. Passing the CDL road test is a crucial step towards becoming an MTA bus driver.

Get Licensed and Hired

To become an MTA bus driver, the first step is to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) with a passenger endorsement. This endorsement allows you to legally operate a vehicle designed to transport more than 16 passengers, such as a bus.

To obtain this endorsement, you will need to pass a written knowledge test and a skills test. It’s important to study the CDL manual thoroughly and practice the necessary skills to increase your chances of success.

There are many resources available online, including, that provide study materials and practice tests to help you prepare for the exam. Taking advantage of these resources can greatly improve your chances of passing the CDL exam on your first attempt.

Apply and interview for MTA bus driver jobs

Once you have obtained your CDL passenger endorsement, it’s time to apply for MTA bus driver positions. The MTA regularly posts job openings on their official website, as well as on job search engines like Indeed and LinkedIn.

Take the time to carefully read through the job descriptions and requirements to ensure you meet all the qualifications before submitting your application.

When applying, make sure to highlight your relevant experience and skills, such as previous driving experience or a strong customer service background. This will help you stand out from other applicants and increase your chances of being selected for an interview.

If your application is successful, you will be invited for an interview. Prepare for the interview by researching the MTA and familiarizing yourself with their values and mission. Be prepared to answer questions about your driving experience, ability to handle stressful situations, and commitment to safety.

Additionally, have a few questions ready to ask the interviewer to show your interest in the position.

Get fingerprinted and complete onboarding

Once you have successfully completed the interview process and been offered a position as an MTA bus driver, there are a few final steps you need to complete before starting your new job. One of these steps is getting fingerprinted for a background check.

The MTA requires all employees to undergo a thorough background check to ensure the safety and security of their passengers.

Additionally, you will need to complete the onboarding process, which includes filling out paperwork, attending orientation sessions, and completing any necessary training. This is an important step to familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of the MTA and ensure you are ready to start your new role as a bus driver.

Maintain Your License and Skills

Renew your CDL license regularly

One of the most important aspects of becoming an MTA bus driver is maintaining your commercial driver’s license (CDL). This license is required to operate a bus and it is crucial to keep it up to date. Make sure to renew your CDL regularly to ensure that you are legally able to drive a bus.

Check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for specific renewal requirements and deadlines.

Complete ongoing training and recertification

As an MTA bus driver, it is important to stay updated on the latest regulations, safety procedures, and best practices in the industry. Participate in ongoing training programs and recertification courses to enhance your skills and knowledge.

These programs are designed to keep you informed about new technologies, changes in traffic laws, and other important updates that can affect your job as a bus driver. Stay proactive in seeking out these training opportunities to stay ahead in your career.

Maintain a safe driving record

To become and remain a bus driver, it is essential to maintain a safe driving record. MTA bus drivers are responsible for the safety of their passengers, as well as other motorists on the road. A clean driving record reflects your commitment to safety and demonstrates your ability to handle the responsibility of operating a bus.

Avoid traffic violations, accidents, and any other actions that could negatively impact your driving record.

Remember, being a bus driver requires continuous learning and adherence to safety protocols. By renewing your CDL license regularly, completing ongoing training and recertification, and maintaining a safe driving record, you can ensure that you are well-prepared to excel in your role as an MTA bus driver.


Becoming an MTA bus driver in New York City requires meeting basic age and licensing requirements, passing initial screenings, completing extensive training, obtaining a CDL passenger endorsement, and going through the application and hiring process.

It’s an involved progression, but can lead to a stable career driving buses for the largest public transit authority in the U.S. With the right training and focus on safe driving, you can get on the road to becoming an MTA bus operator.

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