How Do I Become a MTA Dispatcher?

Find out about what it takes to become an MTA dispatcher. Review education requirements, job growth, salary, and job duties to find out if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an MTA Dispatcher?

A municipal transit authority (MTA) dispatcher is responsible for coordinating the movements of a city's transportation system. They keep buses running on-time and utilize the most efficient routes possible for bus drivers. In some areas of the country, they also dispatch service personnel and emergency responders. In order to transmit information about schedules, they may use radio or computer technology. After any dispatch, they log the event so that they have a record of all transportation activities for future reference and for statistical analysis on transportation efficiency in the municipality.

The chart below will give you more information on how to become an MTA dispatcher.

Degree Required High school diploma or equivalent
Training Required 40+ hours of training required in some states
Key Responsibilities Schedule and dispatch workers, use computer and telephone to communicate assignments
Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% for non-emergency dispatchers*
Median Salary (2015) $37,150 for non-emergency dispatchers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Duties of an MTA Dispatcher?

As an MTA dispatcher, your job is to keep buses running on-time and minimizing problems along a route. To carry out your job duties, you may work with Global Positioning System devices and communication systems to maintain contact with and offer guidance to bus drivers. Your job also includes dispatching personnel on service or emergency calls and keeping records of these activities. Additional responsibilities may include interacting with the public, providing transportation information or answering questions.

Performance monitoring and assigning bus routes to drivers may also be part of your job duties. You ensure drivers are obeying safety regulations and other company policies as well. If a complaint is issued, you may investigate and handle the matter.

What Requirements Must I Meet?

Generally, an MTA dispatcher needs to have a high school diploma and undergo on-the-job training. Many agencies require that you have a background in the field, which may involve dispatching or office experience. Other qualifications may include having a commercial driver's license with a clean driving record, being experienced with office software, passing a medical examination and submitting to a drug test.

Where Can I Work?

Job options for an MTA dispatcher are available through large transit agencies in major cities or smaller agencies in various locations across the country. The two major large city dispatcher opportunities are with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Examples of smaller agencies include the Maryland Transit Administration, which services the state of Maryland; TriMet, which services the Portland, Oregon metro area; and the Central Ohio Transit Authority, which services the Columbus, Ohio area.

Finding a job with one of these agencies may involve applying through a website or sending a resume to the agency. Agencies often list the specific requirements that you must meet to apply for a position.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of becoming an MTA dispatcher, you could consider getting a job as a full-time emergency dispatcher. They respond to 911 calls and alarm systems by sending out policemen, firefighters or ambulances, depending on the nature of the emergency. The minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma. Alternatively, if you are looking for a transportation industry job, you could consider becoming a local transit bus driver. In addition to driving the bus on a scheduled route, your duties would include collecting passenger fares and answering their questions about the schedule. Bus drivers usually need to have at least a high school diploma.

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