By De’Sean Quinn, King County Metro’s Assistant General Manager for Strategy and Partnerships
Most people in King County have at least a few stories about bus operators making their day a little brighter. As riders return to transit, Metro is recruiting more part-time operators and providing paid training, comprehensive benefits and a generous starting wage.
If you have a calling to serve your community, I strongly encourage you to visit kingcounty.gov/DriveForMetro to learn more. But, even if you don’t apply, please enjoy the following shared wisdom from some of the Metro operators who were chosen by their peers as Operator of the Month.
Each month, drivers at each of Metro’s seven bus bases nominate a colleague who exemplifies courtesy, professionalism and safety. We asked the winners what advice they would give to their fellow bus drivers. Their responses provide insightful counsel that often goes far beyond transit.
“Be kind. The kindness you show may be the only kindness your passenger sees in their day.”
“We have the best jobs in the world, and although there are moments, don’t let them get to you.”
“Remember that we’re here to serve the riders, and to show as much grace, patience and mercy as possible.”
“Keep a positive attitude and it will come back to you.”
“Be patient and polite. Enjoy the ride.”
“Everyone has a purpose. Everyone has a story. Kindness always prevails! I truly believe you cannot judge someone by their outward appearance. You never know what hand was dealt to them in life.”
“If you want to get the big picture of driving, always look at the smallest mirror.”
“Don’t take issues on the coach personally. You can meet the best person on the worst day of their life. And we all have those days!”
“To my Metro family: always stand firm on what’s right. Be quick to make someone smile and remember it’s a privilege to serve the public. Much love to you all.”
“There are a lot of nice people out there. Thank them when they pay and notice how they react. It helps the day go by more pleasantly.”
“Physical activity like bicycling helps to ease the pressure of the job even when it is rainy outside.”
“Keep calm and drive safely.”
“Like your responsibility, be patient and, at the end of the day, think about what is most important to you: your family.”
“Take one day at a time.”
“Be safe, always be kind and respectful to others, and you will have a good day.”
“Each passenger should be treated as you would treat your best friend.”
In addition to having fond memories of growing up in Seattle taking transit, my step-father worked as a Metro bus operator and strengthened by desire to give back. Having begun my own career working for King County more than a decade ago, I was excited to accept a position within Metro in 2018 and am proud to now be one of the leaders of such a remarkable organization.
I invite you to join a very special group of people who step forward to serve everyone in our community every single day. In addition to bus operator, there is an incredible range of other positions – across communications, employee services, engineering, facilities, finance, law, marine, outreach, project management, rail, safety, vehicle maintenance and many more. Please visit kingcounty.gov/metro/jobs to view the wealth of exciting career opportunities at Metro.
This op-ed was originally published in The Seattle Medium’s May 2022 careers edition.
Think of it this way… We have the money for operators, but they have to apply first.
Imagine a general strike because of working conditions brought on by corrupt politicians looking the other way.
Amazon should operate for Metro again, maybe they can do it right this time. But they have to drive it, instead of “running” it.
Puppies do grow up, they can be trained well, and corrected without pulling the rope.
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