Metro Transit is hiring up to 100 bus drivers as it prepares for service expansion in 2014 and current bus drivers are tapped to become light-rail train operators.

The agency began advertising for part-time bus drivers earlier this month and has already hired a few. Metro Transit will continue to hire until all the positions are filled, said spokesman John Siqveland.

Part-time bus drivers work up to 30 hours per week, earn $17.27 per hour and receive benefits. Shifts are on weekdays or on weekends or holidays. Many of the new hires will likely have the opportunity to upgrade to full-time work within a few months, Siqveland said.

The 100 openings are being created as a 50-60 full-time bus operators are promoted to light-rail train operators. Metro Transit will open the new Green Line next year. The line will run from downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul.

Currently the agency has 70 operators for the Hiawatha line, which is being rebranded as the blue line. The Green Line will likely need as many, or more.

When those operators are chosen, part-time bus drivers will be promoted to full-time drivers. The new hires will fill spots vacated by parttimers. Metro Transit also will be filling spots of drivers who are retiring.

New hires receive classroom and on-the-road training. They can earn their commercial driver's license during training, Siqveland said.

Metro Transit employs 1,450 bus drivers (280 are part time) and 70 light-rail operators. The average tenure with the agency is 10 years.

Information is available on the agency's web site,

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