The MTA or Metropolitan Transportation Authority is responsible for providing public transportation to 12 counties in New York State and parts of Connecticut. With an average daily passenger load of 11 million people, they are the largest public transportation system in the United States.
To meet the qualifications to be an MTA bus operator you do not have to have any formal training, but you must have a high school diploma, driver’s license or commercial driver’s license (CDL) that has been valid in the state of New York for at least 3 years. If you do not already have your CDL you will need to have a class B learner permit at the time of application, and test to get your CDL at the same time you are in the bus operators training program. Train operators are required to have their high school diploma, or GED, and a valid New York driver’s license.
To apply for the exam, you will need to submit an online application along with the required examination fee. 10 days prior to the test date, you will be sent an admission letter. You will need to hold onto this letter because you will not be allowed to take the test without it. The letter will notify you of the time, date, and place you will be testing at.
The tests are multiple-choice, and to be considered for a position you must achieve a score of at least 70%. Tests will be ranked, with the highest-scoring individuals being placed in priority. It can take several months to receive your test results.
Following the tests, those who have passed will be required to complete a training course that is six weeks long. If you do not complete the training program, or fail to meet their standards, you will no longer be considered for a position.
MTA Psychometric Tests
There are several tests that are given to those who are hoping for careers with MTA. The admission letter you receive will tell you the tests you will be taking.
The BOSS Exam
This exam is for those who have applied for positions as bus operators. The Boss Exam is 75 questions long. You will have 75 minutes to complete it. This is a personality profile made up of a set of themes with subcategories within each theme:
- Being There – Dependability, adhering to scheduling
- Being Safe – Do you pay attention to safety regulations, and make smart decisions?
- Being Courteous – Are you polite, do you provide good service, do you interact well with superiors, do you interact well with co-workers.
Each section will be made up of 8 statements. You will need to rank each statement from most to least likely. Many of the questions are the same but rephrased to show that you have consistency in your answers.
MTA Multiple Choice Exam
The MTA multiple-choice exam is a cognitive abilities test. It helps measure your capacity to learn new things and problem solve. You will need to get a 70% on this exam to qualify, but scores will be ranked. This test is made up of several sections that test your capabilities with different types of reasoning. These sections are:
- Written Comprehension – The reading comprehension test is focused on determining the strength of your reading comprehension. Questions from this section may look like this:
- Written Expression – To see how well you communicate in writing, you will be given this test.
- Inductive Reasoning – You will be given pictures, letters, or sequences, and will need to use the information provided to come to a conclusion. This could be as easy as completing a sequence or determining what the next step in a process should be based on the order of events.
- Deductive Reasoning – The deductive reasoning section requires not just good reasoning skills, but good reading comprehension. You will be given a list of state laws, and you will need to use these to problem solve the next group of questions.
- Information Ordering – You will be given a set of actions, and you will need to arrange them in the order that makes the most sense.
- Problem Sensitivity/ Situational Judgment Test – You will be presented with typical workplace conflicts and will have to determine the best course of action. This test is used to determine what your commonsense approach to solving conflict would be.
- Spatial Orientation – This test is especially helpful for potential drivers, who need to be aware of where things are oriented, and how close they are. You will have maps and will need to determine the best possible route to follow between two points without breaking any traffic laws.
- Short Term Memorization – Since drivers need to be familiar with their routes and schedules, a good memory is important. This test will analyze your memory through the use of pictures, letters, or number sequences, which you will have a few moments to look at, and will then have to recall.
- Visualization – You will be given an image of a shape that has been altered. You will need to use your visualization skills to determine what the object is.
- Mechanical Reasoning Aptitude Test – This is a test of your understanding of basic mechanics, and simple principles of physics. There may be questions about speed, filling the gas tank, rotation, and other simple concepts.
How to Prepare for the MTA Exams?
The MTA exam is extremely challenging. This should not prevent you from succeeding. The best resource for ensuring your success is the MTA study guide. It includes all the topics given on the exam and is a useful tool in knowing what to expect on the test. Using the study guide, you can give yourself timed quizzes about the information. Flashcards are great for memorization and recall, and the act of writing them out will help you retain the information.
On the day of the test follow all the rules that are written on your test admission letter. No cellphones or portable media players are allowed. Calculators are permitted but must be simple handheld versions. If you are found breaking these rules you will be disqualified.
The MTA is the fastest-growing transportation department in the United States. If you prepare yourself for success, you too could be a part of this quickly growing, and essential industry.