Duluth Transit Authority’s “Your Turn to Drive” Event

Published on: May 23, 2023

The Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) held an innovative recruiting event last October 14-25, 2022. In order to attract more candidates for open Bus Operator Positions, the DTA invited the public to test drive a bus on a closed course.

Over a two-day period, almost 60 people participated in the event. Many participants thought it was great to understand just what operating a bus is really like. Preliminary interviews were conducted, and the DTA generated a number of potential candidates for open positions. The DTA considers this event a net positive, and a great way to shed light on this opportunity from a different angle.

Details about creating the “Your Turn to Drive” Event:

  • Once the idea of public test driving a bus was conceived, it was cleared by the insurance company, union, State Licensing, and other stakeholders.
  • DTA rented space from a large parking lot operator.
  • DTA partnered with their City Streets Department to borrow barricades & cones.
  • Promotional material was created — TV and radio commercials, website signup, and a social media campaign. In a press release, media members did a story where they drove a bus to generate attention and interest.
  • The closed course included couple of turns, an intersection, and a bus stop, all created with cones and barricades.
  • Two 35-foot buses were used. Transit operators had the participants become familiar with the controls, safety, and general operation of the bus.  Participants then spent about 5–10 minutes behind the wheel navigating obstacles and performing maneuvers.
  • HR was onsite to discuss the role and conduct preliminary interviews.

The Duluth Transit Authority considers this recruiting event a success. If you or your agency have any questions about this event, or are interested in adapting this recruiting event to your own agency, please contact David Clark at

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