Applying to be an operator

Working as a transit operator is a fun and rewarding career, where you meet hundreds of people daily and help get them to places that matter to them. The application process to become an operator is extensive, followed by a 25-day training program. Review the information below to better understand the job requirements, application process and training program.

There are four different operator roles at Calgary Transit: community shuttle operator, big bus operator, LRT (CTrain) operator and Calgary Transit Access operator.

Please note: CTrain operators start out as Transit operators. To learn more, read our CTrain operator FAQs

Who should apply?

  • You are passionate about going above and beyond for your customers.
  • You are committed to creating a safe work environment.
  • You work well individually and within a team.
  • You communicate clearly in English, both verbally and in writing.
  • You are able to interpret and apply information from city maps and schedules.
  • You highly value diversity. 
  • You have strong interpersonal skills.
  • You possess a high stress tolerance, sound judgment and problem-solving skills.

Job requirements

Duties and responsibilities 

  • Transport customers and courteously respond to their needs.  
  • Safely operate transit vehicles in a variety of road and weather conditions, and in accordance with policies and procedures. 
  • Interpret and apply information from city maps and schedules and locate all major city locations. 
  • Inform customers of appropriate fares and issue transfers.
  • Communicate with office staff and Operations Control Centre, work with technology and have strong city knowledge.

For Calgary Transit Access operators, you must also:

  • Provide assistance and properly secure customers who are ambulatory, require service animals or use wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility devices.
  • Understand and be empathetic to the needs of customers, ensuring proper care and attention is provided.  

Whether you are applying to be a transit operator, community shuttle driver or access operator, you will first need to meet the minimum requirements for the job posting: 

  • 18+ years old.
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada.
  • Full Alberta class 5 operator’s licence – no probationary Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL).
  • No more than three demerits against your licence in the past two years.
  • A minimum of one year's experience working with customers for the community shuttle operator position, or a minimum of two years’ experience working with customers for the transit operator position.
  • A high school diploma or GED obtained from an accredited institution. You are encouraged to have your foreign credentials assessed, prior to applying.
    • Please note: This is not required for community shuttle operators; however, if you decide to move from a community shuttle operator to a transit operator, you will need to prove your education.
    • If you have credentials from a country outside of Canada, please obtain a Canadian equivalency to demonstrate that you meet the minimum job qualifications.

 

Application process

To become an operator, there are multiple steps to the application process. Learn more below about how to apply, the interview stage, security clearance requirements and more.

How to apply

Applications are only accepted when there is an open job posting. 

There are three ways you can apply:


icon of a computer, tablet and cellphone

Online

All City jobs are posted on calgary.ca/careers.

 
 
 

 


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Mail

Mail your application to:

The City of Calgary
Human Resources #8021
800 Macleod Trail S.E. 
P.O. Box 2100,
Postal Station M.
Calgary, AB T2P 2M5

Telephone screening

If you are selected, you will be contacted for a telephone interview. Candidates are chosen based on resumes and online questionnaire answers. Successful candidates will be required to learn about a typical day-in-the-life of an operator.

Aptitude testing

At this stage, you will be required to take an industry standard aptitude test that will help us determine if you are a good fit for the position. A $20 non-refundable administration fee is charged to all applicants. 

Map test – for access operators only

This map test requires searching a map for answers to questions. It will test city knowledge and the ability to interpret information from a supplied map booklet. It is a paper-based test that takes place at a Calgary Transit facility.

Interview

If you are successful, you will move onto the interview. The interview uses The City of Calgary’s targeted selection method.

Please bring:

  • Proof of education.
    • You are encouraged to have your foreign credentials assessed, prior to applying. You can do so through the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada.
    • Please note: This is not required for community shuttle operators; however, if you decide to move from a community shuttle operator to a transit operator, you will need to prove your education.
    • If you have credentials from a country outside of Canada, please obtain a Canadian equivalency to demonstrate that you meet the minimum job qualifications.
  • Two pieces of government identification:  A driver’s licence and another piece of ID. One must be a picture ID.
  • A current (no older than 60 days) original driver’s abstract from all jurisdictions that you have been a licensed driver in the last two years.
  • Three work-related references (must be a previous or current direct supervisor for a minimum of six months).
  • Once you pass the interview stage, you are still required to pass a reference check, security clearance and medical exams.

Pre-hire employment requirement

Security clearance

Once you have passed the interview, we will run an electronic police information check and a vulnerable sector search. You may be required to attend in person, for security reasons.

Selection panel

Our Employment Services Selection Panel will assess and select the strongest candidates to move forward for training.

Medical exam and tests

Applicants selected for training are required to take a pre-employment drug test and a class 2 medical exam. These exams will be conducted at a specific medical facility and paid for by Calgary Transit.

Air brakes Q endorsement for transit operators and shuttle operators only

Candidates selected for training are required to have their air brake ticket (Q endorsement), one week prior to the beginning of training. Training must be taken at a driver training school in Alberta and the test must be written at a provincial registry office. All costs must be paid for by the applicant.

Please note: Calgary Transit Access operators do not require air brakes Q endorsement.

Conditional Job Offer

Three weeks prior to an available spot in the training program, successful candidates will be contacted with a conditional job offer and notified of Documentation Day.

Documentation Day

One week prior to training, you will attend a two-hour documentation and information session is where you will review and sign all essential documents. Please bring your class 2 medical documentation and your City of Calgary benefits application package.

Training program

If successful with all steps, you’ll be required to complete our training program, which is  designed to provide trainees with the knowledge, confidence and skills to become transit operators.

Please note:

  • The training program for transit operators and community shuttle operators is full-time 25 business days, even if the position you are applying for is only part-time.
  • The training program for access operators is 15 business days. 

 For the most part, your working hours during the training program will be from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. There will be some days that you will be required to start as early as 5 a.m. or work as late as 2 a.m.

What should I expect from the program?

The first part of the training program is focused on driving a bus. All students that do not have a class one or class two licence will be required to pass a class 2 road test. You will learn about downtown driving, taking corners and turns, customer service and more. Throughout the training program, there will be several homework assignments that take approximately six hours in total to complete. There are two driver evaluations conducted during the program and a final written exam at the end of the program.

The access operator training program will focus on driving, picking up and dropping off, policies and procedures, using the equipment such as fastening wheelchairs, learning the GIRO software for pickups and drop-offs.

How should you dress during the training program?

During the training program, you should wear:

  • Solid, white dress shirt with a collar (we will give you a clip-on tie to wear).
  • Dark, dress pants
  • Black, dress shoes
  • Black socks

No skirts, jeans, t-shirts, high heels or caps are allowed.

Once you successfully complete the training program, you will become an operator. 

What's it like to be an operator?

Working as a transit operator is a fun and rewarding career. You will meet hundreds of people daily and help people get to places that matter to them. Operators work in some unique conditions that you should be aware of, to help you decide if it’s a career for you.

The job is very dynamic and can be a great way to have variety in your work life.

Community shuttle operators

Transit operator

Calgary Transit Access operator

Community shuttle and transit operator FAQs

Recruitment process

How long does the recruitment process take?
There are 10 steps in the recruitment process which can take 2-6 months to complete.

When can I apply?
Applications are only accepted during an open competition. Please check calgary.ca/careers for openings.

I met all the minimum qualifications; why wasn’t I chosen?
Minimum qualifications are the minimum required for your application to be considered. As this is a competitive process, we choose the most qualified applicants for the position. This may include a combination of factors such as: pre-hire qualifications, previous experience, training, education and class of driver’s licence.

If I make it through the whole recruitment process, how long will I be on the eligibility list?
You could be on the list for up to six months, depending on when and how many training classes are being held. After six months, you must apply again on the next competition.

What is the Strada test and how do I study for it?
The Strada test is a psychometric test designed to see if you would make a good operator. This is a computer-based test with 187 multiple choice questions. You have 45 minutes to complete the test. As this is a psychometric test, there is nothing you can study for.     

How long are my Strada test results valid for?
Your test results are valid for one year. Should you reapply and be chosen for the process, you do not have to redo your Strada test.

Training

Is training provided? How long is training?

  • For transit operators and community shuttle operators, training is 25 days long.
  • For Calgary Transit Access operators, training is 15 days long.

Although most training occurs between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, there may be an evening or weekend shift. During the last week, there may also be training during morning and afternoon rush hours.

Will I be paid during training?
Paid training is provided. We will also provide training to obtain your Class 2 driver’s licence should you not currently have one. You will have to obtain your air brakes Q endorsement on your own time at your expense a minimum of one week prior to training.

Can I continue working at my other job while I’m in training?
Due to the intensity of the training program, we ask that you make alternative work arrangements during your training period. There will be homework and studying most evenings.

Working conditions

How will I know which route I will be driving each day?

  • Transit operators and community shuttle operators drive fixed-routes and can check their next day’s work online or by phone, after 5:30 p.m. the day before.
  • Access operators do not drive fixed-routes. Routes will vary daily, based on needs.

Do I always start and finish work in the same place?

  • Transit operators and community shuttle operators could start at one of our bus garages within the city, or somewhere along a bus route at a predetermined point.
  • Access operators always start and end their shifts at the Calgary Transit Access Garage. However, there may be a break scheduled in the middle of the shift. These breaks may be anywhere in the city. Operators will start from the same location after the break.

Do I always take the bus out of the garage and return it once I am finished?
Although a specific bus may be in service for 20 hours per day, the average length of a shift for community shuttle operators is 7.5 hours, so several different operators drive different portions of the route throughout the day. For example, the first operator of the day would take the bus out of the garage in the morning and start service on a specific route. They may drive for 7.5 hours. The next operator would relieve the first operator at a predetermined location on the route and drive for the next 7.5 hours. Finally, the last operator would relieve that operator and, when the bus is no longer in service, take it back to the garage at the end of the shift.  

Am I assigned the same bus every day?
No. Buses are assigned randomly every day.

Is there GPS on the bus to help me follow my route?

  • There are no GPS systems on our shuttle buses or our big buses. Trainees attend a three-day route knowledge course during training and are shown how to read and follow a route map and pocket schedule. Paper maps are given to trainees during their training to use as an operator.
  • Calgary Transit Access buses do have an onboard GPS system; however, city knowledge is still essential.

How long is a typical workday?

  • For community shuttle operators, the typical shift is 7.5 hours long; however, it may be spread over a 12 hour period. This is called a split shift. The operator could work two or three shorter pieces of work with a break in between. These shifts when combined would add up to 7.5 hours.

How many hours will I work each week?

  • Community shuttle operators are guaranteed 15 hours per week and must work weekends. Weekday work is not mandatory, but often available. The more you make yourself available, the more chance of obtaining weekday shifts.
  • Transit operators start with a 60 hours guaranteed every two weeks. Eventually, they can move up to 75 hours guaranteed every two weeks. This will include weekday, evening and weekend work.

How early will I start?
As Calgary Transit is a 24/7 operation, all operators may start very early. Shifts can start at 4 a.m. or earlier.

How late do I finish?
All operators may finish very late. Shifts may finish at 2 a.m. or later. Finish times are based on seniority.

How does my vacation work?
Your vacation would be determined on the amount of hours worked the previous year. Vacation selection is based on seniority and not all weeks will be available as a new operator.

Do I have to pay for my uniform?
No. Your initial uniform is provided free of charge. Every year on your work anniversary date, you will receive an allotment of points that you can redeem for more clothing items.

Are benefits included?
A community shuttle operator would need to average 20 hours of work per week or more over a four month period to be eligible for benefits.

Calgary Transit Access operator FAQs

Recruitment process

How long does the recruitment process take?
There are 10 steps in the recruitment process which can take 2-6 months to complete.

When can I apply?
Applications are only accepted during an open competition. Please check calgary.ca/careers for openings.

I met all the minimum qualifications; why wasn’t I chosen?
Minimum qualifications are the minimum required for your application to be considered. As this is a competitive process, we choose the most qualified applicants for the position. This may include a combination of factors such as: pre-hire qualifications, previous experience, training, education and class of driver’s licence.

If I make it through the whole recruitment process, how long will I be on the eligibility list?
You could be on the list for up to six months, depending on when and how many training classes are being held. After six months, you must apply again on the next competition.

What is the Strada test and how do I study for it?
The Strada test is a psychometric test designed to see if you would make a good operator. This is a computer-based test with 187 multiple choice questions. You have 45 minutes to complete the test. As this is a psychometric test, there is nothing you can study for.     

How long are my Strada test results valid for?
Your test results are valid for one year. Should you reapply and be chosen for the process, you do not have to redo your Strada test.

What do I need to know for the map test?
This map test requires searching a map for answers to questions. It will test city knowledge and the ability to interpret information from a supplied map booklet. It is a paper-based test that takes place at a Calgary Transit facility.

Training 

Is training provided? How long is training?
For Calgary Transit Access operators, training is 15 days long. Although most training occurs Monday to Friday, there may be an evening or weekend shift.

Will I be paid during training?
Paid training is provided. We will also provide training to obtain your Class 2 driver’s licence should you not currently have one.

Can I continue working at my other job while I’m in training?
Due to the intensity of the training program, we ask that you make alternative work arrangements during your training period. There will be homework and studying most evenings.

Working conditions

How will I know which route I will be driving each day?
Access operators do not drive fixed-routes. Routes will vary daily, based on needs.

Do I always start and finish work in the same place?
Access operators always start and end their shifts at the Calgary Transit Access Garage. However, there may be a break scheduled in the middle of the shift. These breaks may be anywhere in the city. Operators will start from the same location after the break.

Am I assigned the same bus every day?
No. Buses are assigned randomly every day.

Is there GPS on the bus to help me follow my route?
Calgary Transit Access buses do have an onboard GPS system; however, city knowledge is still essential.

How long is a typical workday?
Workdays can vary in length, depending on the shift.

How many hours will I work each week?
Accessible operators start on-call, with no guaranteed hours. You can then move up to a guaranteed 60 hours every two weeks and then to guaranteed 75 hours every two weeks.

How early will I start?
Shifts can start as early as 5 a.m., seven days a week.

How late do I finish?
All operators may finish very late. Shifts may finish at midnight or later. Finish times are based on seniority.

How does my vacation work?
Vacation selection for 60 and 75 hour operators is based on seniority. On-call operators will have their vacation hours paid out annually.

Do I have to pay for my uniform?
No. Your initial uniform is provided free of charge. Every year on your work anniversary date, you will receive an allotment of points that you can redeem for more clothing items.

Are benefits included?
Accessible operators with 60 hours or 75 hours guaranteed are eligible for benefits. On-call operators are not eligible for benefits.

CTrain operator FAQs

Recruitment

How do I become a CTrain (LRT) operator?
CTrain operators start out as Transit operators. Transit operators wishing to operate the CTrain can put their names on a list to be activated, once there are vacancies.

How long does it take to move to CTrain from the Transit operator position?
Becoming a CTrain operator is based on seniority. As vacancies occur, the most senior operators on the waiting list would be selected.

Will I still drive a bus, once I am a CTrain operator?
The most junior CTrain operators may drive bus and CTrain, depending on operational needs. All others will only operate the CTrain.

Training

How long is training?
Training consists of two parts:

  1. Rule book training
    It takes place in a classroom over three days. Operators must be proficient in all LRT rules.
  2. Mainline LRT training
    Five week mainline LRT training course.

What does mainline training consist of?
There is a theory portion and a practical portion. The theory portion will take place in a classroom while the practical portion will take place onboard the CTrains. Trainees will learn to operate CTrains in the garage, in the yards and on the Right of Way. There will also be mentorship driving, where trainees will drive an in-service train, picking up and dropping off passengers.

What other training tools are used?
Calgary Transit has two state-of-the-art LRT simulators that are designed exactly like the interior of a CTrain cab. The software was designed to simulate our existing Right of Way and CTrain platforms. This enables trainees to experience different operating conditions all within a safe environment. The simulators can simulate rain, snow, darkness or track obstructions.

Working conditions 

What area of the city will I work in?
As a CTrain operator, you will work in all four quadrants of the city. Work could start or finish at any of our LRT garages or at a CTrain platform.

How will I know when and where I will be working?
Operators can check their next day’s work online or by phone at 5:30 p.m. the day before.

How early will I start? How late will I finish?
Calgary Transit is a 24/7 operation. Therefore, shifts can start very early or finish very late. Finish times are based on seniority.

How does vacation selection work?
Vacation is based on seniority. As your seniority increases, more weeks will become available to choose from.