They style hair, fix vacuums, garden, run gift shops and study geopolitical history. What they have in common is they enjoy being behind the wheel, serving the public and getting people where they need to go. They are our “rolling ambassadors,” the kind, courteous and helpful smile that greets you every day when you ride with us.
They represent over two centuries of driving experience. The operators who drive your bus are as unique as you, and all of them love driving and giving back to their community.
Meet your Operators of the Month for July and August 2023.
We love to hear from our riders about their operators! Please leave your comments about our drivers. Interested in becoming a transit operator? Visit “Start your Metro career” to explore well-paying positions with full benefits and a pension in transit operations, trades, rail operations, customer information and countless other fields.
(Information and photos provided by the operators)
Atlantic Base | July 2023: Robert Macabata
Robert started as a part-time operator in 1990 and went full-time in 1994. Along with earning multiple Safe Driver Awards and 15 commendations, this is the third time Robert has been recognized by his peers as an Operator of the Month.
Born in Iba Zambales, Philippines, Robert moved to the United States with his family in 1969. He joined Metro after attending truck driving school.
Happily married for 23 years with four daughters, Robert enjoys spending his free time walking and hiking, especially trails in North Bend.
Robert’s advice to other operators: “Perseverance, take it one trip/day at a time.”
Passenger praise: “This driver is smooth and swift, making smooth starts, smooth stops, and running a very efficient trip.”
Atlantic Base | August 2023: Mohammed Abdo
Mohammed joined Metro in 2016 as a part-time operator and went full-time a year later. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and three commendations.
Born in Ethiopia, Mohammed came to the United States 16 years ago. He attended Garfield High School and Seattle Central College.
After driving trucks, Mohammed joined Metro because he enjoys the diversity of working in an open space and providing service for people.
Mohammed has a wife and two daughters and spends his free time with his family, reading and playing basketball.
Mohammed’s advice to other operators: “Safety first, be careful, and follow the rules.”
Passenger praise: “He had to drive us through the detour for the broken Spokane Street bridge and did a wonderful job remaining patient and driving so smoothly.”
Bellevue Base | July 2023: Dean Jenne
Dean joined Metro in 2007 as a part-time operator and went full-time a year later. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and has received five commendations.
Born in Bellevue, Dean grew up around Bellevue and Renton and in high school participated in sports including rowing and racing marathons.
He joined Metro because he disliked the insecurity of self-employment and wanted a career with good pay and benefits.
Married for 17 years, Dean’s hobbies include stocks, geo-political history, and working out.
Dean’s advice to other operators: “Practice patience. A wave or smile to other operators and customers will help you. When in doubt, slow down!”
Passenger praise: “The driver went beyond his duty and I do appreciate that he did that.”
Bellevue Base | August 2023: Thulin Tolliver
Thulin has been a part-time operator since 1992. She has earned multiple Safe Driver Awards and several commendations.
Born in Casper, Wyo., Thulin attended Green River Community College for Precision tools, Drawings, and Electro-mechanical graphing. She joined Metro because of her love of serving people and meeting people from all over the world.
Thulin is also an owner of multiple small businesses such as T&T’s Wine and a floral and a gift shop.
Thulin enjoys spending her free time cooking, hosting dinner parties, family gatherings, walking and fishing.
Thulin’s advice to other operators: “Always come into work to work. Be your authentic self. Stay positive and helpful to others. Stay humble and grateful. Stay healthy and happy.”
Passenger praise: “The driver is so friendly and courteous!”
Central Base | July 2023: Chase “Joyce” Parker
Joyce started at Metro in 2015 as a part-time operator and became a full-time operator in 2016. Along with her 14 commendations, she has earned several Safe Driver Awards.
She is a Seattle native and has attended Renton Technical College and City University.
Joyce joined Metro because she loves driving and wanted to serve the public. She has been a hairstylist for close to four decades and may return to it after retirement.
Away from work, Joyce enjoys knitting, crocheting, gardening and golfing.
Joyce’s advice to other operators: “Be assertive. Be safe. Be mindful of others. Prepare all your equipment for the day.”
Passenger praise: “She is very warm and kind, consistently professional, pleasant and personable.”
Central Base | August 2023: Tino Brown
Tino started as a part-time operator in 2013 and went full-time in 2015. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and six commendations.
Tino was born and raised in Jamaica where he attended Jamaica College High School and received his Associate in Theology from Christ for the Nations.
Tino is married and with his time away from work he enjoys boating, football, basketball, cricket and chess.
Tino’s advice to other operators: “Be Happy!”
Passenger praise: “The assertiveness and confidence in driving made me feel very comfortable in the trip and that I was going to successfully make it to my destination.”
East Base | July 2023: Katie McGuire
A full-time operator since 2001, Katie has earned multiple Safe Driver Awards and has received five commendations.
Katie has a daughter and enjoys sewing and gardening in her free time.
Katie’s advice to other operators: “Zen is important, so is your happy place.”
Passenger praise: “I was going to a new destination on this bus and she helped me figure out where to get off. When I got off, she told me to have a nice day.”
East Base | August 2023: Nathan Wilkinson
Nathan has been a full-time operator since 2011 and has earned several Safe Driver Awards and nine commendations. He was recognized as an Operator of the Month in August 2015.
Nathan joined Metro after attending a job fair in Bellevue with a friend and stopped to talk about becoming an operator.
Born in Portland, Ore., Nathan went to Kentridge High School, Highline Community College for his associate’s degree and Seattle University for his bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Nathan has been with his wife since 1986 and has three children. In his free time, he enjoys working on cars, sewing machines and vacuums.
Nathan’s advice to other operators: “Be careful, be kind.”
Passenger praise: I want to thank Nate for being a friendly and observant driver.”
North Base | July 2023: Peter Gladhart
Peter started as a part-time operator in 2016 and went full-time in 2018. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and six commendations.
Peter joined Metro because it offers competitive pay and benefits. It also offers a flexible schedule that fits with his family’s needs. He believes that driving buses takes a healthy dose of patience, respect, humor and some more patience.
Born in California, Peter grew up in Bellingham, moved to Portland and then to Seattle where he has lived for 25 years.
Peter has been married for 19 years and has three kids. He’s been a soccer coach for 15 years and is currently coaching his youngest son.
Peter’s advice to other operators: “Get your passengers there safely and get them home safely.”
Passenger praise: “This driver is always very friendly and helpful! Glad to see him when I’m headed to work.”
North Base | August 2023: Yonas Habte
Yonas started as a part-time operator in 2017 and went full-time a year later. He has earned several Safe Driver Awards and five commendations.
Yonas was born in Asmara, Eritrea, where he attended St. Mary High School. He joined Metro because he always wanted to serve his community.
Married with three sons and one daughter, Yonas enjoys reading in his free time and playing basketball with his kids.
Yonas’ advice to other operators: “While doing this job, it is important to be a confident and adaptable person. Be patient and calm under pressure with the public and other road users.”
Passenger praise: “He handled bad weather and horrible traffic with excellence, courtesy, professionalism and safety.”
Ryerson Base | July 2023: Donald Ferensen
Donald has been a full-time operator since 2000. He has earned multiple Safe Driver Awards, one commendation and was recognized as an Operator of the Month in 2004.
Donald is a graduate of Roosevelt High School. He served in the U.S. Army from 1988 to 1992, which also included service in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He lived in Germany during the reunification of that country in 1990.
The father of two adult children, Donald spends his free time walking and hiking and is looking to participate in more hobbies in the future.
Donald’s advice to other operators: “Don’t be the hot-headed one.”
Passenger praise: “The driver did a good job.”
Ryerson Base | August 2023: Brian Barron
Brian has been a full-time operator since 1992 and has earned numerous Safe Driver Awards and two commendations.
Brian was born in Franklin, La., and went to the Art Institute of Seattle for music. He joined Metro because it was a good job.
Brian is married with children. When Brian isn’t driving the bus, he enjoys sports and traveling.
Brian’s advice to other operators: “Be kind, be accountable and careful.”
Passenger praise: “Customer left phone on bus; operator did a stellar job communicating with the customer to retrieve the phone.”
South Base | July 2023: Bruce Duran
Bruce joined Metro in 1980 as a part-time operator and went full-time in 2001. He has earned numerous Safe Driver Awards and six commendations. Bruce has been recognized as an Operator of the Month in 2004 and 2018.
Bruce was born Seattle and grew up in Burien. He joined Metro because he enjoys driving.
Happily married for 48 years with three wonderful children, Bruce enjoys watching old movies, sports, traveling, and attending his grandchildren’s events.
Bruce’s advice to other operators: “Always play by the rules and life will be much more enjoyable and less stressful.”
Passenger praise: “The driver is highly knowledgeable and skilled. He is punctual, kind, and patient.”
August 2023: Daryl Woods
Daryl Woods joined Metro in 1998 as a part-time operator and has been full-time since 2001. He has earned multiple Safe Driver Awards and six commendations. He joined Metro because he likes to connect with a diverse community, making a positive impact on their lives.
Daryl was born in Los Angeles and attended California State University.
Daryl has three great-grandchildren. He enjoys playing the piano and is a musician for his church.
Daryl’s advice to other operators: “Let’s keep things simple, show up to work every day and avoid making assumptions.”
Passenger praise: “Driver is truly an incredibly knowledgeable driver, who’s incredibly timely, considerate, and patient.”
Every month, operators from King County Metro’s seven transit bases select an Operator of the Month. Each demonstrates safe driving skills, is courteous and helpful, and pays conscientious attention to attendance appearance and discipline.
Please join us in congratulating them. Our Operators of the Month later vote on who among them will be chosen as Metro’s Operator of the Year!