The Average Yearly Salary of an MTA Bus Operator

by Will Gish; Updated September 26, 2017
Commuters Return To Mass Transit After Three Day Strike

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York City handles all public transportation concerns in the city and surrounding area, which includes Long Island. The MTA is in charge of the subway, bus lines, bridges, tunnels and some commuter trains, such as the Long Island Rail Road, and employes everyone who works in all of these systems. The salary of MTA bus drivers, or operators varies depending upon the experience and seniority of the individual driver.

MTA Bus Operator Salaries

Bus driver at steering wheel

The Empire Center for New York State Policy created the See Through NY website in an effort to bring transparency in public salary to the people of the state. This site lists payroll information for all public employees in New York from 2008 and 2009. This resource provides information on base salary and total earned, including overtime, bonuses and pension accrued. Most MTA bus drivers on this list earned a base salary of $40,000 to $70,000 in 2009. The actual salary ranges wildly. One employee who earned a base salary of $48,714 in 2008 earned an actual salary of $49,156 while a different employee who earned a base salary of $55,994 in 2009 earned an actual salary of $105,517.

MTA Operator Salary Fluctuations

Bus driver by bus

MTA wages fluctuated significantly between 2008 and 2009 both in terms of base salary and actual salary. Some individuals earned higher salaries in 2008 than in 2009 while others saw a reduction in general salary but a higher actual salary. For instance, one bus driver earning a base salary of $51,054 in 2008 earned $55,994 in 2009, with an actual salary increase from $51,141 to $65,158. Another driver saw his actual salary reduced from $59,057 in 2008 to $55,994 in 2009, though saw his actual salary increase from $59,372 to $78,032. The fluctuations in MTA bus driver salaries during this period differ from individual to individual, with no discernible pattern given the information provided.

Bus Drivers in New York

Rush hour in Times Square in New York City, NY, USA

Significantly more bus drivers work in the New York City metro area than any other single location in the United States. In 2010, the NY metro area boasted 19,540 bus drivers while Chicago, the metro area with the second highest number of bus drivers, boasted 8,570. New York State constitutes the highest paying state for bus drivers. As of May 2010, the average bus driver in the state earned an annual salary of $45,960 an hourly wage of $22.10. Bus drivers in the New York metro area earn an average salary of $46,930 annually or $22.56 hourly. These wages don’t necessarily reflect MTA average salaries as they consider all bus drivers, including those employed by private companies like Grey Hound and Peter Pan. All salary information comes compliments of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

National Bus Driver Salary Averages

Bus driver at steering wheel

The average bus driver in the United States earned an annual salary of $37,060 and an hourly wage of $17.82 in 2010. The salary range for bus drivers in the United States runs from $23,050 in Mississippi to $45,960 in New York State. Other than New York, bus drivers in Washington, Ohio, Hawaii and California earn the highest wages in the country. Bus drivers in Rhode Island, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas and Nebraska earn the lowest wages in the nation. No salary information exists for Utah.

2016 Salary Information for Bus Drivers

Bus drivers earned a median annual salary of $32,660 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, bus drivers earned a 25th percentile salary of $24,730, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $41,530, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 687,200 people were employed in the U.S. as bus drivers.

About the Author

Will Gish slipped into itinerancy and writing in 2005. His work can be found on various websites. He is the primary entertainment writer for "College Gentleman" magazine and contributes content to various other music and film websites. Gish has a Bachelor of Arts in art history from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Photo Credits

  • Daniel Barry/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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