Lynx must not think too much of its drivers

Usually, we write about residents who depend on the Lynx bus for transportation in Central Florida.

But this time we’re focusing on the plight of Lynx bus drivers.

Recently we noticed a Lynx bus sporting a sign announcing that Lynx wants to hire new drivers.

The starting pay: $14 an hour.


Maybe Lynx management (a public agency) isn’t aware of it, but there is a national campaign seeking a minimum wage of $15 an hour for all workers. Lynx’s ridiculous compensation offer may be one of the reasons the agency is so desperate to recruit that it resorted to ads on the side of its buses.

Honestly, $15 an hour isn’t a livable wage. Try paying your rent, utilities, bills and feeding your family on that. No wonder so many people are living in tents and their cars.

We’ve heard some Lynx drivers can’t afford a car. Just like many of their passengers – who can’t afford a car – some drivers ride the Lynx bus to work. Let that sink in for a moment…

The good news at Lynx is after you complete your bus driver training your pay goes up to $16.70, according to a union official.

Big whoop!

Driver pay at Lynx tops out at $23 an hour. Gee hope they don’t have children who want to visit Disney or go to college one day.

Let’s get serious. A driver must have special training and licenses. Drivers also must pass an annual physical. Everybody doesn’t have what it takes to drive a Lynx bus.

The driver operates a half-million-dollar piece of equipment on crowded, chaotic streets and is responsible for the safety and lives of dozens of passengers. Come to think of it, the driver’s responsibilities look a lot like an airline pilot’s – and fly jocks make six-figure salaries.

Realistically we understand that Lynx drivers aren’t going to get six-figure salaries, but gee, they ought to be getting decent pay for a difficult job that is sometimes dangerous. Last year a Lynx driver was killed in a mishap. Down in Hillsborough County, a bus driver was viciously slashed and disfigured by a passenger.

The amount Lynx is willing to pay its drivers says a lot about how much it cares about the customers (the public) Lynx is serving. Would you want your heart surgery performed by a doctor being paid minimum wage?

How are drivers supposed to focus on the jobs when they’re worrying about picking up enough overtime hours to keep a roof over their heads and pay their bills?

How can Lynx become a world-class public transportation agency if it can’t hire and retain outstanding drivers?

Lynx gotta do better!


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