Administrative Assistant Sarah Beal
After working in hospitality for 20 years, Transportation Administrative Assistant Sarah Beal has found her extensive experiencing working with people to be an asset to supporting fixed route bus operations at STA.
“My favorite part of the job is interacting with the people. I couldn’t have done my job in hospitality for 20 years if I didn’t like people,” said Beal. “I try to get to know our drivers on a personal level and check in with what is going on in their lives or with their family.”
One of Beal’s responsibilities is to help answer questions that coach operators have about their job.
“It could be as simple as helping them with changing their address or benefits,” said Beal. “One moment that stands out to me was when we had a new operator, and her son became ill. She came to me concerned that she would need to miss too much work to care for her son, but I was able to work with her through the situation.”
The fixed route department is the largest team at STA.
“We have nearly 300 drivers, 20 supervisors and two transportation managers in our department,” Beal said. “I support the transportation managers, help supervisors review questions, complaints, and compliments from the public and work with our coach operators when they have questions.”
Fielding questions and tasks from the team has changed for Beal in some ways during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When I am working in the office, we are very cautious,” said Beal. “Everyone is required to wear a mask and keep a safe distance. The important thing is keeping ourselves and the people we interact with safe.”
The safety measures Beal’s team has taken allows them to continue providing an essential service to the community.
“The fixed route department is absolutely essential and has had to change some things in response to the pandemic,” Beal said. “Implementing the safety shields, mask requirements, and social distancing has helped us keep serving the public safely. In my role, I help communicate new safety rules and recommendations as they come in and I make sure our staff stays informed.”
While her team has faced new challenges, Beal believes in the strength of her team.
“It takes a strong person to juggle and manage the different kinds of work that we do,” said Beal. “The drivers deal with a lot of pressure day to day, especially during the pandemic and being tasked with enforcing new safety mandates. They are often the first line of communication and first interaction for our riders.”
Beal encourages riders to talk to the coach operator on their bus if they have questions or concerns.
“The coach operators are there to help you,” said Beal. “If you have a question or are having an issue, talk to your coach operator about what is going on.”