Recognized by her riders with commendations and by her peers as an Operator of the Month, Tonya Abernathy knows that life behind the wheel can be both stressful and fulfilling. She also understands the challenges of being a female transit operator in a field that remains predominately male.

Tonya, who was encouraged by her sister to apply at Metro because of her great communication and people skills, recently discussed with StreetsBlog USA ‘What It’s Like to Be a Woman Transit Operator.’ Tonya, who was a security officer at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas before joining Metro, talks about security,  safety and handling “negative energy” both on and off buses. She also discusses the self-care she takes and the rewards of being a transit operator.

Tonya never forgets that it’s about the people who ride with her every day: “When passengers come up to me and say, thank you for your service —  it makes me feel like I’m in the military!”

King County Metro is a special place to work.  We invite you to join people who serve our community while advancing their careers. In addition to bus operator, there is a broad 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 to view the exciting career opportunities at Metro.