Celebrating Transit Driver Appreciation Day
Every March 18th on Transit Driver Appreciation Day, we celebrate the public service of vehicle operators around the world. At Spokane Transit, we take this day to honor the operators of our fixed route buses and our Paratransit vans. In 2021, the celebration of this day comes amidst an unprecedented hardship faced around the world.
“Despite the challenges they face, vehicle operators at Spokane Transit consistently represent the agency with integrity,” said Chief Executive Officer, E. Susan Meyer. “Their preparedness, professionalism and adaptability is truly the essence of the STA brand – they are a source of pride in our region. I’m grateful for their dependability and commitment to customer service as they safely provide essential transportation to our customers each day.”
Many of the STA patrons rely on vehicle operators to safely transport them to essential destinations like work, education, the grocery store, and medical appointments. We at STA are proud of the work operators do to represent the organization when providing safe, courteous and reliable service.
“At STA, the most recognizable face of the organization is probably that of the fixed route bus operators and Paratransit van operators,” said Senior Transportation Manager Frank Bezemer. “Their work is vital to the quality of the operations and customer experience of STA’s service, and the safety of everyone riding the bus and on the road.”
Beyond the added safety precautions coach operators are applying in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, STA vehicle operators’ work has always come with the top priority of safety. Operators are responsible for navigating everything from emerging detours, to reckless drivers, to treacherous winter road conditions. They are often the first line of communication with the public, assisting the disabled and elderly, responding to passenger concerns and questions, and educating some riders on the rules of conduct.
“Our vehicle operators take on a tremendous amount of responsibility, day in and day out,” said Interim Chief Operating Officer Fred Nelson. “They have to know an extensive route system, a complex fare structure, deal with tight streets and reckless motorists, maintain a consistent schedule, and keep themselves and their customers as safe as possible from the added safety risk of COVID-19.”
Paratransit Manager Janet Stowe believes that the motivation behind the STA operator’s work is one of the most important pieces of what makes a great operator.
“What our vehicle operators do is not as important as why they do it. Their why is public service,” said Stowe. “Whether it is providing Paratransit or Rides for Seniors trips, disinfecting vehicles, or delivering Meals on Wheels, they are here to serve. Our operators are on the front lines of every service we provide.”
All of us at STA invite the public to join us in celebrating Transit Driver Appreciation Day by showing your gratitude to the transit vehicle operators in our community. Send your thank you messages on social media, contact us here, or consider thanking them in person while continuing to keep a social distance and wearing a mask.
To be consistent with our health and safety practices during the coronavirus pandemic, we ask that customers not hand gifts or cards to transit drivers.