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MTA Celebrates Graduation Day for New Bus Operators as Ridership on Buses Nears 70% of Pre-Pandemic Levels

MTA Bus Company
Updated November 26, 2021 1:45 p.m.
MTA Bus Operator Graduation

Class Is Part of a Push to Rebuild Front Line Workforce in Aftermath of Pandemic-Induced Hiring Freeze Last Year     


New Bus Operators Join 129 Bus Operators and 56 Subway Conductors Who Recently Completed Training 


View Photos from the Graduation Here 


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that 45 newly trained bus operators graduated following their successful completion of training at the Zerega Training Center in Castle Hill in the Bronx on Wednesday, Nov. 24. These operators will help New York City Transit (NYCT) tackle recent crew shortage challenges and bolster the frequency of bus service. This marked the formal end of six weeks of intensive training. The graduation took place as New York City Transit Bus and MTA Bus Company combined ridership has neared 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels in recent days. 

"Each day our goal is to deliver thousands of scheduled trips for the New Yorkers who depend on buses to get them where they need to go,” said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. “By increasing class sizes, we can move more operators into the system more quickly to help us ensure that buses are running as efficiently as possible."  

“Our riders deserve reliable service, and these operators will help address the staffing challenges we’ve experienced,” said Acting President at the MTA Bus Company and Senior Vice President at New York City Transit's Department of Buses Frank Annicaro. “I want to thank these new bus operators for helping provide service and joining our team that is committed to doing its part to help bring back New York City.” 

The new employees join the 129 bus operators and 56 subway conductors who recently completed their training, and the hundreds of NYCT workers who are expected to be onboarded in the months ahead — part of a deliberate effort undertaken by the MTA to rapidly grow the number of bus operators, subway train operators and conductors. A hiring freeze — necessitated by a fiscal crisis that developed during the pandemic — depleted the ranks of bus operators with many veteran workers retiring or leaving their frontline posts. 

To encourage the use of mass transit and to ease congestion on New York City streets during the Thanksgiving holiday, the MTA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are offering free rides on the Q70 Select Bus Service (SBS) LaGuardia Link until Sunday, Nov. 28. The Q70 SBS connects the subway lines and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to LaGuardia Terminals B, C and D, providing a worry-free limited-stop ride with customer amenities designed for travelers. Stops for Q70 SBS LaGuardia Link are distinctly marked outside LIRR’s Woodside Station/61 St-Woodside subway station and the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av /74 St-Broadway subway station complex. 

Customers boarding at LaGuardia Terminals B, C, and D can spot the LaGuardia Link buses via their distinctive blue exterior design and SBS signage. Customers are urged to allow extra time due to ongoing construction near LaGuardia Airport and increased holiday traffic. 

Black Friday, Nov. 26 

Today, on Black Friday, Nov. 26, most subway lines are operating on regular weekday schedules. The F train is only operating between Jamaica-179 St and Kings Hwy and is replaced by free shuttle buses between Kings Hwy and Coney Island. The Staten Island Railway is operating on a regular weekday schedule. 

New York City buses are operating on a reduced weekday schedule with some exceptions. 

The following bus routes are not running: The BxM8 City Island service, BM1 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM2 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM3 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM4 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), M1 LTD, M4 LTD, Q4 LTD, Q5 LTD, Q6 LTD, Q17 LTD, Q25 LTD, Q27 LTD, Q36 LTD, Q43 LTD, Q46 LTD, Q65 LTD, Q83 LTD, Q85 LTD, QM2 Queens-bound Super Express, QM5 Queens-bound Super Express, QM8 Queens-bound Super Express, QM20 Queens-bound Super Express, S81 LTD, S84 LTD, S86 LTD, S91 LTD, S92 LTD, S94 LTD, S96 LTD, S98 LTD, SIM4X, SIM8X.  

Saturday, Nov. 27, and Sunday, Nov. 28 

New York City Transit, the LIRR and Metro-North, including West of Hudson service, will operate on regular weekend schedules. For real-time service updates and information, rail commuters and motorists can use the following options:  

Check mta.info or the LIRR TrainTime app for updates, including modified emergency schedules. 

Follow @MTA and the MTA’s operating agencies on Twitter. Sign up for text message or email alerts at mymtaalerts.com. 

For customers who are located at stations, the MTA will post the latest service updates on digital signs at station platforms and will make audio announcements over public address systems, and on-board announcements made by train crews. 

For those who prefer the telephone, information is available from the Metro-North’s Customer Service Center by calling 511, the New York State Travel Information Line. For customers calling from Connecticut, the number is: 877-690-5114. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can use their preferred service provider for the free 711 relay to reach the MTA at 511.