A tram full of people drives down the Boardwalk.

Staff keeping close eye on attrition

With a solid recruitment plan in place, resort transportation officials are once again optimistic about bus and tram staffing going into the busy tourism season.

“We feel like we can’t let our foot off the gas when it comes to recruiting drivers,” Transit Manager Rob Shearman told members of the Transportation Committee at a meeting Tuesday. “Our numbers are in good shape but we know that there will be attrition and we need to be prepared for it.”

With a goal of 60 seasonal bus drivers, 25 tram drivers and 25 conductors, Shearman said the totals are falling just below the mark after Springfest weekend.

Currently, he said the department has hired 42 bus drivers, with another 10 full-timers also on staff. The total will increase more once school ends, with several drivers committed to seasonal shifts.

“Our summer schedule is in decent shape overall,” Shearman said. “But we do want to push recruiting here to get that number up to 60 and get ready for possible attrition if we’ll be experiencing it.”

In the tram division, Shearman said the system now has 17 drivers and 15 conductors, following the departure of four people after last weekend.

“There was just a handful of people who got into the job, realized it was not what they wanted to do, and decided to part ways with us,” Sherman said. “Again, that is expected to a certain extent.”

He said supervisors, techs and ticket sellers are fully staffed, and officials are going back to the drawing board to fill up the driver and conductor spots.

The trams were out for Springfest and will run again for Cruisin’ Ocean City May 18-22 before running noon to midnight daily throughout the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Shearman and Transportation Operations Manager George Peake said the staff on board were able to handle running nine trams during Springfest, with four in the morning and five in the afternoon all four days.

Last year, the division started off completely staffed but attrition whittled the totals down to 18 drivers and 12 conductors after June.

Overall, with the current numbers and recruitment plans in both divisions, the Transportation Committee members were encouraged by the data.

“I think all in all it’s a positive report,” Mayor Rick Meehan, who chairs the committee, said at the close of Tuesday’s meeting.”The issue of hiring is universal. The key is you’re being very proactive and doing whatever you can to fill those vacancies.”

This story appears in the May 12, 2023 print edition of the OC Today.

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