RENO, Nev. (KOLO) It's Pam Mascorro's first day of training with a veteran Regional Transportation Commission bus driver. Liz Jeleniewicz has been behind the wheel for 27 years and has no desire to retire.
“And then I moved to Reno, and get on this thing, and I drive. I didn't even really... you don't see the world as it really is in all its different colors. It is beautiful outside,” says Jeleniewicz.
When she first started, there were 100 drivers for ten openings. These days the RTC says in a tight job market, it can't find enough drivers. It has meant route service cuts, with passengers left with limited or no transportation.
“We got the people out to work, but we couldn't get them home. And that is super sad,” says Jeleniewicz of the current situation.
The RTC is hoping to recover by recruiting drivers like Pam Mascorro. She's enthusiastic and anxious to learn. She's already earned her CDL learner's permit, she has to get the practical with the help of Liz.
“I mean, they do need drivers, and the more the better. And I think this is a great opportunity, great benefits, great for advancement, and an excellent career until retirement. I am 56, if I can do this until I'm 75, 80 years old, I will,” says Mascorro.
Recruiting is ongoing at the RTC. There are some applicants with CDL experience. There are others like Mascorro who should have her license and trainee experience and be driving a bus by the first of next year.
The RTC says even with heavy recruitment, the process of filling these positions is going to take time.
Also add into the mix—while these drivers are paid to train and earn their CDL with the RTC, many leave the bus driver positions within a short amount of time, to take higher-paying jobs.