Tag Archives: drivers

KC Metro’s finest

Congratulations to Bruce Kennedy, KC Metro’s 2011* Operator of the Year. Bruce, who drives the 346, is a 36-year Metro veteran with “a near-perfect safety record, excellent reliability, and a professional attention to quality service.” (You can read the entire announcement here.)

2011 OOY

I’ve only ridden the 346 once–to Ingraham High School’s 2007 graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, the driver I had for that trip did not exhibit the same concern for safety as our reigning OOY.

Unfortunately, the young men with the Sidekick weren’t the only folks making use of handheld devices. Our 346 driver spiced up the ride by driving one-handed while chatting on his cellie.

Thanks for keeping it professional, Bruce.

*Yes, 2011. Recipients are chosen based on their service in the previous year.

Bus Driver Appreciation Day, 2011

Green beer and pinching are all well and good, but that’s just the warm-up to March’s most important holiday. Folks, tomorrow, March 18th, is the day to say thanks to all the hard-working men and women who do what it takes to get you where you’re going. Some manage to do it while adding a little flavor or humor to the ride. Others while (no disrespect to my Bus Nerd) looking ridiculously good. There’s an 8 driver out there who really needs to be in some sort of calendar. And while we’re on the subject: Why is there never a Stranger’s Sexiest category for bus drivers?

I digress.

Fellow transit types, go forth, and appreciate. But no pinching!

A new bus hero

Metro's SupermanCongratulations to Marvin White (aka “Superman”), Metro’s 2009* Operator of the Year. I missed the big surprise ceremony (again), and that’s unfortunate; I would have liked to have had an opportunity to meet him.

Here’s what the folks at Metro had to say about the 31-year veteran, who currently drives the 271:

Bus riders on many Eastside routes think White is the Superman of Metro drivers. They describe him as kind, courteous, skilled, and gifted with an ability to stay on schedule “…despite I-405 traffic.”


“Marvin is one of those operators who knows many of his passengers by name, even though he picks a new route to drive three times a year,” said Metro’s Manager of Operations Jim O’Rourke. “When he goes on vacation, his passengers actually send us emails to tell us they miss him.”


White does manage to sneak in a little free time away from his driving duties. He’s an avid bicyclist and an accomplished musician. He’s played in several Metro-employee bands during his years with the agency.

But he can’t stay away for long – his customers won’t stand for it.

Here’s a sampling of comments from Metro passengers about White:

• “He always has something good to say to everybody, and he greets at least one-third of the passengers on his bus by name every time they get on or off.”
• “When he is not driving the route, the passengers just sit and avoid eye contact. As long as Marvin is at the wheel, everyone is jovial and filled with camaraderie.”
• “If Metro could clone Marvin White, you would double your bus riders in a hurry!”

A multi-modal type who cares about people and sparks bus-wide discussions? Time for a trip on the 271!

*Yes, I know it’s the middle of 2010, but it’s how Metro does it:

Since 1978, the drivers themselves have selected the best of their peers to hold the title of Metro Transit’s Operator of the Year. In order to receive the award, a driver must be chosen as Operator of the Month from one of the seven transit bases. At the end of the year, the Operator of the Year is selected by a vote of all fellow Operators of the Month. The annual ceremony is usually held the following summer.

Today’s the day!

Call me a BDP or a mindless Metro booster if you must, but I’m excited to celebrate Bus Driver Appreciation Day. I am grateful for all the hard-working men and women who’ve been getting me there for six years and then some, and I’m especially grateful for those who’ve managed to do it with a smile (or a little music).

This new (because we said so!) holiday seems like a pretty good excuse to share stories about our favorite–and most memorable–drivers. What you got?

And speaking of crafts…

On our 48 ride home yesterday, a very kind bus driver gave Chicklet a page to color. She (the bus driver) had a whole folder full of these:

Chicklet's bus masterpiece
Chicklet’s masterpiece, completed post-ride. Limited (but appropriate!) color palette provided by Mom.

And, I assume, she dispensed them to other pint-sized riders throughout the day. Nice touch. Now all they need is Metro-themed crayons.

Update, 2/9:

Another ride (with the same driver), another picture:

My 16-month old artiste
Happy she got to choose her own colors this time

I love riding on the coloring-page-woman’s bus. She’s friendly and helpful to everyone, remembers passengers from one day to the next, and knows a lot about the city and the route she drives. She even has a sign in her front window that says, “I love my job.” (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a photo of it.)

We can tell, Ms. Bus Driver. We can tell.

Southbound 16, 7:50 PM

As I exit the bus at 3rd & Union, the driver calls to me.

“Excuse me, miss. Excuse me!”

I hurry back up the steps, flustered, certain I have either dropped something or somehow managed to forget I’m on a “pay as you leave” route. But the driver is smiling.

“I was just wondering: What is that delicious fragrance you’re wearing?”

A good driver day

Southbound 48, 2 PM: The man behind the wheel turned out to be the same man a longtime family friend brought to my nuptials, lo, those many (oh, was it only two?) years ago. I don’t actually know him, and until that ride, I had no idea he was a bus driver.

Tandy, props for your good taste in dates. How often does a bus chick get the chance to say to a driver, “Hey, I think you were a guest at my wedding!”

Eastbound 4, 8:30 PM: I rode with Smooth Jazz for the first time in almost a year. (The last time he was my driver, I think I was still busing while pregnant.) On this particular ride, he was dispensing his cool while politely fending off a rather forceful passenger-on-driver bus mack. Can’t say I blame the woman. If it weren’t for my amazingly fabulous Bus Nerd, I’d have a crush on Smooth Jazz.