Resort’s Bus Driver Recruitment Efforts Look Promising

OCEAN CITY – Officials with the Town of Ocean City are ahead of schedule in hiring transit drivers for the 2017 season.

In a Transportation Committee meeting Tuesday, Transit Manager Mark Rickards detailed the department’s successful campaign to recruit bus drivers for vacant positions.

As of last week, the town has filled 133 of the 162 bus driver positions, completing 82 percent of its bus objective.

Rickards attributes the success of the department’s recruitment efforts to advertising campaigns, job fairs and speaking engagements, which will continue to run through the spring.

Mayor Rick Meehan, chair of the committee, asked if officials were on target to reach their hiring goal, of which Rickard gave an assuring reply.

“I think we were a little behind in 2014, but ’15 and ’16 I think it was corrected,” he said. “I think we are actually ahead of schedule right now. We still have a lot of events to go.”

Currently, transit officials are scheduled to appear at job fairs in Salisbury and Ocean City during the months of March and April, respectively, and potential speaking engagements through various fraternal organizations.

Rickard said officials with the human resources department are monitoring the effectiveness of the campaign and continue to ask applicants where they saw the job listings advertised.

“As you can see on our buses, we have our [ads] on the head signs,” he said. “We’ve actually had a few of our applicants mention that that is what they saw.”

Regardless of the success of the campaign, Hal Adkins, public works director, warned committee members that these numbers may decline in the upcoming months.

“Even though the numbers will look good as we head into the spring, the reality comes about when we get closer to the spring and summer,” he said, explaining that the cyclical climate prevents officials from employing all of their workers until Memorial Day weekend.

“So we’ll have a few fall out that we think will be will us now, but they’ll end up leaving us because they don’t get the hours right up front,” Adkins said.

Although Rickard gave no comparisons to last year’s hiring progress, he assured members the numbers looked promising.

“If you look at the previous numbers, we are very close to our goal,” Rickard said. “We are 82 percent toward the driver goal and I think, with the efforts we have left to go, we should make our objective.”

Also in the meeting, Rickard gave committee members an update on ridership statistics for the month of January and a portion of February.

According to Rickard, date-to-date ridership from January 2016 to January 2017 had decreased slightly, but day-to-day ridership for the same time period had increased, adding that he expects these numbers to grow in the upcoming month.

“In February, we are pretty much ahead of where we were last year so far,” he said. “We are looking at a good weekend for President’s Day weekend. I’m optimistic about that.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.