Metro Ottawa/Sean McKibbon An OC Transpo bus.

Six bus drivers with OC Transpo were able to crack Ontario’s sunshine list of public-sector workers earning more than $100,000 this year, but its all hard work and dedication, said their union boss Tuesday.

“We all know them because they’re at the garage, day in and day out,” said Craig Watson, president of the Local 279 transit union. “They’re the ones who volunteer to work all the statutory holidays.”

The cap for a driver’s pay rests at $27 per hour for an average 40 hour work week. That means most drivers are making roughly $56,160. Yet the top paid driver managed to rake in $111,814.89. That’s a lot of overtime and time-and-a-half.

Still, despite not needing any post-secondary education, bus drivers face stringent tests of their mettle to get behind the wheel of the public limo. “There’s a seven or eight step process to getting hired,” said Watson.

One test to see how drivers multi-task, he said, includes counting backward from 300 by threes while a manager shouts directions at you. “If you’ve just got out of high school you’re not going to get a job driving a bus,” Watson added, noting that in the most recent round of hiring for the position the city sifted through 2,000 applications.

“Lots of people want to be bus drivers,” he said, but, he added, it’s not easy. “You’re working split shifts and working all the weekends. Family life goes down the tubes. It’s 17 years before you get both days of the weekend off.”

As drivers move up the ranks of seniority they get a shot at better vacation time and shifts, but “if you’ve worked 37 years you’re getting paid the same as the guy who has been here two years.”

Bus drivers who cracked 100 K:

Manjit Sandhu Bus Operator $111,814.89

Glenn Hilt Bus Operator $101,556.22

Francois Danis Bus Operator $101,313.05

Paul Charron Bus Operator $100,852.44

Roseanna Caldwell Bus Operator $101,122.08

Andre Alberti Bus Operator $102,430.54

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