Have you thanked your bus operator lately?

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International Bus Driver Appreciation Day is March 18

BusDriverDayDay in and day out, TriMet bus and MAX operators get riders where they need to go. Our operators (and WES engineers) provide more than 1.8 million rides a week across some 525,000 miles. It’s not an easy job; they just make it look that way. So TriMet is encouraging riders to join us in celebrating International Bus Driver Appreciation Day on Monday, March 18.

Thanks for the ride

Our 1,064 bus drivers provide a valuable service. We leave the driving to them to get us to work, school, home and play. Navigating a 40-plus foot bus through streets in all sorts of weather and traffic conditions is challenging. Add to that, giving directions, checking fares, announcing stops and keeping schedule often with smiles on their faces and kind words and actions.

The rider of a Line 52 bus recently emailed us about Operator Gene. “This gentleman of a bus driver was very friendly and chipper. He started a conversation with me right away about this man that was juggling near the stop and it was quite a boost to my otherwise dreary day.”

A Line 44 rider had this to say about Operator Suzanne. “The driver was very nice, cordial, and professional. I have ridden from downtown to PCC (Portland Community College) several times and she always makes me feel safe, secure and she does a great job at offering courtesy stops at night for the customers.”

On the Line 99, a rider gave this shout out to Operator Rigo. “He always greets me as I board the bus and has a kind statement as we leave, be it to have a nice evening/weekend or to be careful as we cross with cars coming. Please commend Rigo for his excellent service. He deserves notice!  Thank you.”

Help us get the word out

TriMet is encouraging all riders to join us in celebrating our hard-working bus drivers (and rail operators, too!). On International Bus Driver Appreciation Day, make a point of saying “thank you” or go to busdriverday.org and print out a “thank you” card to sign and give to a driver. For those who don’t ride on March 18, give the card or a verbal thanks and a smile on the day you do ride. You can also share a kind word to your bus operator online at www.facebook.com/busdriverday.

Riders can also submit an official commendation for an operator at any time at trimet.org/thanks or by calling 503-238- RIDE (7433) weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve received 500 commendations for operators and other TriMet staff; that’s about seven people a day who have gone out of their ways to say thanks.

Why March 18?

Seattle residents and transit riders Hans Gerwitz and Shannon Thomas wrote a blog post in 2009 that inspired the International Bus Driver Appreciation Day movement! They love transit so much they even rode it to their wedding! They chose March 18 because it was on that day in 1662, bus service began in Paris.