As my Tik Tok friend, @chltwn32 would say “This is really good right here” Which career path is better for you if you’re a young driver? Are you considering making the jump into the transportation profession? Looking for a great career but unsure of which path you should take? In this article, I’ll give you guys a quick unbiased run-down on which career path may be the better fit. Notice I said better fit and not better job! Perception is everything!
To create the debate we will talk about important pillars anyone would consider when choosing a career. Initial Investment, Wages, Benefits, and Career Trajectory
Trucking: $3,000- $10,000
At first glance, you may think it’s a typo, but it’s in fact true. A Class B CDL in most states is free if you agree to work for the states operated transit agency. One of the cool things about state ran transit is that it’s under the same umbrella as your local department of motor vehicles, because of this, most transit agencies are able to pretty much train, and administer your CDL. No waiting in line, no waiting for an appointment. Not to mention as you train to you get paid the entire time.
While there are a few trucking companies that will train you, they are far and few between, and typically do not pay you while you are learning.
According to Career Explorer after most deductions and expenses the average salary for a trucker falls between $18 an hour for rookies and $33 an hour for top earners. They did a great job of illustrating average salaries by State, you can check it out here
Believe it or not, the scale for government-level transit drivers is nearly the same. You’ll come in slightly higher around $20-$24 per hour and top out around $33-$38. For MDOT MTA operators in Baltimore, they are hired at $20.23 per hour and within 5 years max out at $33.16. You can view that here, on page 196 of their Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, in some places, Bus operators top out between $40-$46 per hour.
Trucking has one primary advantage, you can get “top pay” quicker. By the trucking industry being private, your salary and wages pretty much come down to what the client is willing to pay. However, it’s important to note that as a trucker, you will have more expenses than a bus operator. So while a load or job may pay upwards of $5000, when you break down all the costs, commissions, gas, broker fees, lodging, and tolls alongside the amount of time you spent physically driving, it comes out to be much lower.
One of the advantages of operators’ salary is, you’re paid for your time and overtime is an option. As a trucker, if you are stuck in traffic for an extra 2 hours your money stays the same. As a transit operator, If I get stuck in traffic for 2 hours, I’m paid time and a half for it.
One of the core disadvantages to transit operator pay is the amount of time it will take to get top dollar. Some agencies accelerate their operators to top pay in less than 3 years while others it can take up to 7.
In summary, as a commercial driver whether it be bus or truck, you can expect to earn anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per year. How you do it, and when you do it will depend on your personal value system. But you can earn more driving a truck
Insurance & Benefits
Though both jobs involve driving, they are vastly different when it comes to benefits. While the world moves away from unions and labor agreements, transit unions not only remain but are stronger than ever. Unions have done a great job in getting bus operators great wages, raise increases, and some of the best health insurance for little to no copays. As a recruiter now, I come across dozens of different health insurance plans for various transit agencies, and all of them are really good. In addition to that, your retirement plan is built into that Collective Bargaining Agreement. Truckers insurance is different, due to the nature of the industry. Some companies offer it, some don’t, some offer better rates others don’t. As an industry, benefits, and insurance for truckers will vary, however for transit operators it relatively stays the same from agency to agency state to state. Due to its simplicity Transit takes the W here.
At Supir it’s our belief that driving the bus isn’t designed to stop your career, it’s designed to grow it. Transit operators have numerous opportunities to grow inside of their transit agency. With programs like tuition reimbursement, operators have a practical free pass to college as the agency will educate them then place them in other non-driving positions. Not to mention operators can easily drive trains, light rail, and paratransit all within the same company within a short period of time. As a truck driver, while there aren’t many internal places to grow, trucking has more opportunities to grow outside of it. Primarily starting your own fleet! Trucking does make it easy to start your own company, with your own drivers, and your own truck.
Both have paths in which you can grow your career, transit provides slightly more support and a pre-established infrastructure, with positions like supervisor, manager, and chief awaiting operators to take the next step.
In conclusion, both of these jobs have ups and downs as do most things in our society. If I had to summarize everything for a new candidate in the simplest way possible it would sound like this.
Driving for a transit agency is like working for any other government agency While trucking is built more like entrepreneurship. As a transit operator, your job is a small part of a huge network of political and government services provided to the public. As a truck driver, your career is built closer to creating your own path, where you are more in control of what you do, what you make, and how you choose to do it. Transit is the slightly safer career choice, while trucking has a higher economic ceiling and more freedoms.
Trucking and transit are two completely different entities with numerous perks, benefits, and nuances. To find out more about them in detail, contact us at www.gosupir.com and we’d be happy to answer any questions or clarify any concerns you may have!