Transit Driver Appreciation Day celebrates the region’s transit operators


TriMet staff and riders show appreciation for the agency’s bus, MAX Light Rail and streetcar operators

Friday morning before the sun was even up, TriMet’s frontline employees — bus, MAX and streetcar operators — were already hard at work, getting the region moving. While it’s just another morning behind the wheel or at the controls, safely taking people where they need to go, other TriMet staff and leadership, along with riders hoped to make the day a bit more special. TriMet and agencies across the U.S. encouraged riders to join them in a celebration of Transit Driver Appreciation Day.

TriMet’s recently appointed General Manager Doug Kelsey, along with transportation managers and other staff greeted operators starting at 5:30 a.m. “Our TriMet operators and their fellow transit drivers play an important role in our communities, providing safe and reliable transportation that’s easy to use,” said Kelsey. “We value our operators and appreciate the great job they do every day. We encourage all riders to join us in doing a little something extra – whether it’s sharing a nice word, a smile or wave to thank their operators for their service.”

TriMet’s 1,547 operators are the face of the agency. They provide about 300,000 weekday trips on buses, MAX trains, WES commuter rail trains and our LIFT paratransit buses, connecting people to jobs, schools, community services and recreation across Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. Our operators also are at the controls of the Portland Streetcar.

Transit Driver Appreciation Day is an annual tradition for TriMet, set on March 18, the day horse-drawn vehicles are believed to have debuted in Paris in 1662. Because it falls on a Sunday this year, TriMet is observing the day of recognition on Friday, March 16, when there are more riders using the transit system, more operators on the job and more opportunities to say thanks. Riders are encouraged to continue the good will through the weekend in one or more of the following ways:

  • Tell your operator thank you, share a smile or give a wave.
  • Give an official commendation by visiting, calling 503-238-RIDE or tweeting @trimethelp.
  • Leave a thank you note for your driver at
  • Take a photo or share a nice comment on social media and use the hashtag #TDAD.

“Our operators are a friendly face, helping riders safely get where they need to go – whether it’s work, school, the grocery store, the doctor’s office or just somewhere to have fun,” said Kelsey. “We know how hard it is to provide great service, to do it safely, and to make our customers want to come back every day.”